Christie’s gone — But what about his $43M addiction commercials?
TRENTON — One thing that ended when Phil Murphy become governor were the ubiquitous ads for ReachNJ featuring Gov. Chris Christie.
The ads were the centerpiece of Christie's $220 million program to help people addicted to opioids get help from rehabilitation facilities. The $43 million commercials ran on regional radio and television outlets.
In his inaugural address, Murphy praised Christie for the job he had done in the fight against opioid addiction and hinted that he will continue it during his term.
"Your work to save lives from the epidemic of opioid addiction is a legacy worth applauding and continuing, and I intend to do so," Murphy said.
The new governor has not raised the issue since. It's unknown whether the state will continue to pay for broadcast commercials.
The last commercial order placed by the ad agency used by the state Department of Health with New Jersey 101.5 and its sister stations ended Jan. 16, the day Murphy was inaugurated. Much of the advertising paid by the state is on hold as the new administration gets an opportunity to possible re-bid on advertising contracts.
The Reach NJ website and service still exists but has not been updated to name Murphy as governor.
The commercials were criticized by Democrats who felt that they promoted Christie's image and wasted resources.
A spending review by the Legislature found that $39.4 million for the program had been transferred from accounts dedicated to school construction, preschool expansion and college grants.
Angelo Valente, the executive director of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey, said “we’re very confident that Murphy will also be very supportive of efforts to be able to support those that are in need, and efforts to help prevent our state from experiencing any more devastation as a result of the opioid epidemic.”
“We anticipate to be able to be working with him and his administration because we believe this is an issue that obviously impacts people throughout the state of New Jersey.”
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