New Jersey Governor Aims to Save Lives Through Drug Policy Reform
May 1st, 2013
On Monday, April 29, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie lent his newfound support to a good Samaritan law that would allow people who are overdosing to dial 911 and receive help without the fear of being prosecuted on drug-related charges. Such policy could mean the difference between life and death for many people.
If the law is passed as expected, New Jersey will accompany 11 other states and Washington, D.C. that have enacted laws to save lives rather than prosecute. Gov. Christie’s newfound support created an avenue of compromise that was much needed to put this law into effect. It has already passed the state Senate and Assembly by gigantic bipartisan margins.
Last October, Christie vetoed a previous version of the bill due to a fear that it would offer protection to drug dealers. After the election, democratic sponsors as well as various treatment organizations turned the heat up on Christie. This pressure has been attributed to his changed attitude regarding the law.
This wouldn’t be the first step towards drug policy reform that Christie has taken. Known for his opinion that the drug war has been a failure, the governor is adamant in his belief that prison is not the place for non-violent drug addicts; treatment is. “As long as they have not violently victimized society, everyone deserves a second chance, because no life is disposable,” Christie said.
“I am not satisfied to have this merely as a pilot project,” the governor said. “I am calling for a transformation of the way we deal with drug abuse and incarceration in every corner of New Jersey.”