Addiction-related issues will be among Gov. Chris Christie’s two or three biggest priorities in his final year as governor.

“It is a heartbreaking thing, and I think anybody who has family members, friends, loved ones, colleagues at work who’ve been affected by this disease knows that we need to do something,” Christie said Thursday on New Jersey 101.5’s ‘Ask the Governor.’

“There’s going to be a lot more that’s going to come after the first of the year. This is going to be one of the two or three big things that I emphasize in my final year as governor,” Christie said. “I’ve been emphasizing it the whole time, but I’m going to put even more of a spotlight on it because we need to.”

That Christie plans to emphasize the issue isn’t a surprise, as it has been the subject of all five public appearances he has made in the last two and a half weeks and has been a recurring issue over his seven years as governor.

“We’re going to have a lot more to say about this at the State of the State address and a number of new proposed initiatives and some actions that I’m going to take unilaterally to make this situation of treatment more available to folks,” Christie said.

He didn’t provide details but indicated the focus would include the disposal of prescription drugs. He joined Walgreens officials at an event Thursday in East Brunswick to announce new safe-disposal kiosks.

“Too many times, people get painkillers or opiates or other dangerous drugs, they leave them around the house or they dump them down the toilet, which is bad for the environment. And so we’re working on that,” Christie said. “And there will be some other things in the prescription drug area that we’ll be announcing during the State of the State and right around there.”

Christie also indicated he’d announce a plan for streamlining access to information about getting help.

“A lot of people just don’t know where to go or what to do,” he said. “And so we’re going to be doing some things to make that even easier in conjunction with Rutgers and the center we have there. So I’m trying to bring together all the resources we have and make it easy for people to be able to access them and easier for them to be able to pay for them as well.”

New Jersey: Decoded cuts through the cruft and gets to what matters in New Jersey news and politics. Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5 and the editor of New Jersey: Decoded. Follow @NJDecoded on Twitter and Facebook. Contact him at

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