Did you know that in New Jersey more people die from drug overdoses than car crashes? An estimated 128,000 people suffer from addiction and the majority of them are not receiving the treatment they need. Drug addiction is a huge problem throughout the United States, especially in New Jersey. In the past decade, the state’s death rates have tripled the national average. Governor Chris Christie is trying to change this. In a compassionate message about fighting addiction, Christie announced his dedication to fund substance abuse programs. During his annual State of the State address, the governor outlined his plan to use new funds towards mental health and substance abuse treatment.
“We’re doing this because every life — every life — is precious,” Christie said. Drug addition is a topic that hits close to home for the New Jersey governor. During his speech, he related personal anecdotes to explain why the country needs to change the way it handles substance abuse. Christie spoke about his late mother’s smoking addiction and the loss of his close law school friend from a prescription painkiller overdose.
The proposed plan focuses on rehabilitating rather than incarcerating addicts. Christie said, “The victims of addiction deserve treatment. We need to start treating people in this country not jailing them. We need to give them the tools they need to recover.”
The Plan to End Drug Addiction
Governor Christie is committed to spending $100 million of state money to fight drug addiction. The money will be used to increase mental health and substance abuse services throughout the state. Doing so would in return reduce hospital and emergency room care. An additional $1.7 million will go towards the “recovery coach program,” that places certified specialists in the hospital rooms of overdose victims. The coaches step in a moment when the victims are at their most vulnerable and support is most needed. They will provide guidance, support, and referrals for treatment. Christie also plans to convert the Fort Dix correctional facility into a fully functioning treatment center for inmates.
Christie may be using this as a plea to save his sagging presidential campaign. But the truth is, in a state where the heroin and opioid epidemic continues to worsen, this has the potential to be groundbreaking. Here’s the catch: To fund these benefits, it would require a 10 percent sales tax increase or 23 percent boost in property tax.
If you or a loved one needs help overcoming an addiction, Discovery Institute is here to help you through the process of recovery and beating addiction. Call us today at 800-714-2175 to begin taking the steps that will turn your life around.