- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

SOMERSET, N.J. (AP) - Gov. Chris Christie is continuing his public push against drug addiction, announcing Wednesday more than $12 million in new funding for addiction treatment and prevention programs.

Speaking during a news conference in Somerset, Christie, who has made fighting addiction one of his signature issues as he weighs a run for president in 2016, said the money would go toward expanded substance abuse prevention and treatment efforts.

The sum includes $1.8 million to expand treatment programs for women with dependent children into South Jersey, nearly $1.5 million to add new residential treatment beds for youth with mental health and substance abuse problems, and $6 million for the Department of Human Services to expand prevention and education programs.

“We have to make investments in time and in resources to change how we think about these issues and how we treat them because we know that addiction can happen to anyone,” Christie told reporters after meeting with women and staff from the “Mommy and Me” program at the Center for Great Expectations, an inpatient drug treatment and counseling program that allows mothers to live with their children as they receive treatment.

The event marked a rare break from the road for Christie, who has been spending most of his time lately out of town stumping for fellow Republicans in his role as chair of the Republican Governors Association.

The bulk of Christie’s recent events at home have focused on various efforts to tackle drug addiction, which is seen by some as part of a larger effort by the famously brash Republican to soften his image as he positions himself for a potential presidential run.

A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Tuesday found that a majority of registered state voters approve of the job Christie is doing when it comes to drugs and crime - unlike his performance on the economy and jobs, education and taxes, which he has been talking about less and less.


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