This week marks the one-year anniversary of New Jersey’s Facing Drug Addiction Task Force. The task force was created under Governor Christie to address drug addiction through treatment and prevention. “What I’ve tried to emphasize over the years is to remind everybody that drug addiction is a disease. It is a disease. It’s not a moral failing,” Christie said. “This impacts entire families. It impacts co-workers, colleagues, neighbors, friends. It affects everyone who is in this person’s orbit so this is not a victimless crime or a single victim crime. We can’t just throw people in jail. That’s not going to work. It hasn’t worked for 30-plus years and it’s not going to work.”
When Governor Christie established the task force one year ago, he made it clear what he hoped it would accomplish. “Those suffering with addiction are often ashamed of their disease, leading to isolation from their families, communities, and friends and the access to help they need to treat and overcome their disease,” Christie said. “In this fight, we must not only improve the services available to help addicted individuals reclaim their lives, but it is just as important that we bring down the invisible barriers to seeking out treatment – ending the stigma and recognize it can affect anyone. I’m bringing together this group of experts, leaders, and individuals with first-hand experience from inside and outside of government to build on our efforts, and give recommendations on where we can strengthen our treatment services, prevention efforts, and strategies to end the stigma on this issue.”
The governor also announced the creation of a new referral source for addiction services. Called “Recovery Coaches,” the program will connect addicts who have overdosed with treatment professionals. A second new program proposed by the governor will make it easier for ex-offenders to get back into the workforce after their time served.
Many families that struggle with addiction are hopeful about the governor’s views of addiction. Our country overall is headed in a positive direction when we talk about treatment and prevention rather than fines and incarceration.
Read more about Governor Christie’s plans here.