With Public Cost Unclear, More State-Funded Opiate Ads to Come in NJ

The administration of N.J. Governor Chris Christie is taking bids for a new opiate addiction awareness campaign.

The administration of N.J. Governor Chris Christie is taking bids for a new opiate addiction awareness campaign. JT Aregood for Observer

New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s focus on the state’s opiate crisis will see a new push with another print, radio, television and online campaigns to raise awareness about heroin and prescription opiate addiction. A public notice published on the state Department of the Treasury’s website shows that the Department of Health is seeking bids based on budgets of up to $1 million.

Opiate addiction has been one of Christie’s signature issues during his gubernatorial and presidential campaigns, with his speeches on addiction occasionally becoming viral hits. The first round of video public service announcements since the governor called on the legislature to push through new addiction treatment laws has featured Christie’s voiceover.

Christie spokesman Brian Murray did not return an email asking whether Christie will again personally feature in the campaign. Before the notice of the new bids, Murray told NJ Advance Media that he did not know the exact cost of the ads in the original campaign.

Laying out what statistics the state wishes to publicize with the campaign, that DOT notice said that work would begin immediately once the state decides on a firm to carry out the messaging.

“The goal of this initiative is to create awareness and provide education throughout the State about the dangers of addiction, particularly opioid addiction, and recovery services for New Jersey residents,” it read. “All Bidders must be prepared to commence work in the second half of February, 2017. These services require a quick turnaround and production must begin on Day 1 of the Contract.”

Christie announced roughly a dozen measure during his State of the State address, including a plan to limit the supply of opioid painkillers by health care providers from one month to five days, as well as a telephone hotline and website. The push comes as the governor faces record-low polling numbers, with 18 percent approval according to a Farleigh Dickinson poll released in December.

Under Christie, the scope of ad spending by the state has a record of ballooning once bidders weigh in—in 2013, the administration granted a politically connected firm $5 million to carry out a tourism campaign after Hurricane Sandy, $2 million more than the runner-up.

With Public Cost Unclear, More State-Funded Opiate Ads to Come in NJ