- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has declared opioid drug abuse a public health crisis.

The executive order Christie signed Tuesday in Newark creates a task force to develop a comprehensive strategy to combat the drug abuse epidemic.

Christie says that he is devoting his final year in office to addressing the drug crisis, which claimed the lives of nearly 1,600 people in the state in 2015.

He says the state must take “aggressive action to get this insidious crisis under control.”

The Republican made the announcement at the Integrity House drug treatment program and held a discussion with past and current drug addicts in the program.

The eight-member task force will be led by Charlie McKenna, Christie’s former top government lawyer.

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