Christie addresses opioid addiction crisis in final speech

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HAMILTON -

Gov. Chris Christie spent the last year in office helping to fight against the opioid addiction crisis that is plaguing New Jersey.

The governor dedicated his efforts to expanding the availability of the lifesaving drug Narcan and working to lower the stigma of addiction. Christie is also on the task force set up by President Donald Trump to help combat opioid addiction.

“I devoted all of last year’s State of the State address to the disease killing more New Jerseyans than anything else every year,” Christie said during Tuesday’s State of the State address.

Christie spoke about the opioid crisis in Tuesday’s speech once again. Some of New Jersey’s families dealing with addiction said that they were thankful for the governor’s efforts.

RELATED: Christie delivers his eighth and final state of the state address

One such family is Kevin and Maryann Meara, who lost their son KC to an overdose 10 years ago.

“We just celebrated our 10th Christmas without our son. So that tells you how long we’ve been active in this battle,” says Kevin Meara.

The Mearas started the nonprofit organization City of Angels not long after their son’s death. It is a substance abuse treatment and recovery center based in Hamilton. 

They say that while they applaud the work that Christie has done on the state and federal level, they wish that it would trickle down to their grassroots levels faster.

“City of Angels and Maryann and I operate as boots-on-the-ground. And it will take time for those initiatives to get down where we are,” Kevin says. “That’s why you see the overdose statistics go up. We need to make strides on the street levels.”

The Mearas say they are hopeful that Christie will continue his work after he leaves office. They also say that they hope Gov.-elect Phil Murphy will continue what Christie started. They say that they have reached out to Murphy’s administration and are waiting to hear back.

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