A program to teach health care professionals about medication-assisted treatment methods for opioid addiction is holding a series of sessions in New Jersey.

State Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said it's another response to a very serious crisis. She said New Jersey saw about 3,000 overdose deaths last year, "so the Murphy administration has been focused on doing everything possible to try to try to turn around this epidemic."

The New Jersey Department of Human Services is holding 18 of these scheduled training sessions statewide. It has trained more than 300 health care providers so far.

"The more of these providers that we have trained, the more opportunities there are to get medication-assisted treatment so that we have as much outpatient treatment capacity as possible," Johnson  said.

Johnson says in the past training about substance use disorder treatment wasn't common, but that's changing.

"But for folks who went to medical school in earlier years that wasn't so much the case," she said."

Federal law requires the training, and completion of a waiver to prescribe certain medication-assisted treatments. Through this project, training is provided for free to allow health care providers to meet the requirements of the federal waiver.

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