NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New Jersey lawmakers are stepping up to try and fight the heroin epidemic.

Twenty-one bills have been introduced to find ways to encourage people to stay away from heroin, treat those who are addicted and support more recovery programs, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported.

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Tens of millions of dollars a year in state funds would go toward the bills if passed into law.

State Senator Joe Vitale chairs the health committee and say it is just as important for the measure to reach kids for prevention’s sake.

“We can’t allow kids to pinky swear not to do drugs,” he said.

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Another bill requires health insurance plans to cover drug treatment programs when medically necessary.

“Right now we pay a provider $14 for a session in Medicaid,” Vitale said.

Vitale said New Jersey’s Medicaid is one of the lowest in the nation.

“It’s embarrassing, and that’s an investment the state has to make,” he said.

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