PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spent his first day as President Donald Trump's top adviser on dealing with the opioid epidemic meeting with doctors who are finding success with alternative pain management tools.
Christie met Thursday with the doctors and nurses running the Alternatives to Opioids Program at St. Joseph's emergency room in Paterson, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported.
"I wanted to be here because I think you are setting the example, not only for New Jersey, but for the rest of the country about how to take a team approach to this and to get at the roots of the problem and try to really deal with it," Christie said.
According to ER Chairman Dr. Mark Rosenberg, the hospital has seen a 75 percent success rate with alternative therapies for pain.
"We also know one major principle: If we don't give opioids, nobody is going to get addicted," Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg said he believes the program can be expanded into all 4,500 emergency rooms across the country.
On Wednesday, Trump promised to step up drug prevention and law enforcement of drug dealers, and he told one woman who lost her son to an overdose that he did not die in vain. He listened intently as others shared their stories about addiction and recovery.
"Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death in our country, and opioid overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled since 1999," he said. "This is a total epidemic."
Among Christie's goals is to change the public perception on drug abuse and emphasizing that drug addiction is a disease.
Christie has pushed for state legislation aimed to help curb the opioid issue, including legislation requiring medical professionals to discuss the possibility of addiction when prescribing opioid drugs to those under 18, and limits on opioid prescriptions.
for more features.