Chris Christie on Drugs
We need to realize that when we keep drug addicts in jail, we ensure that they will be a constant drain on our society. Treatment not only costs us less in the short run, but in the long run it produces contributing members to our society--people who are employed and pay taxes, rather than being in jail and draining taxes. Requiring mandatory treatment instead of prison for nonviolent drug addicts is only one step--but an important one. Treatment is the path to saving lives. For as long as I am governor of New Jersey, treatment will be mandatory in our system.
I have a simple view of this. Drug addiction is a disease. It can happen to anyone, from any station in life. And it can be treated.
Most importantly, every life is an individual gift from god and no life is disposable. We have an obligation to help people reclaim their lives. And if we have the tools to help those with this disease to save their own lives, we should use them.
Requiring mandatory treatment instead of prison for non-violent drug offenders is only one step--but an important one. Treatment is the path to saving lives, and for as long as I am governor, treatment will be mandatory in our system and I will not yield
That is why I proposed last year to change our approach to non-violent drug offenders, and mandate treatment, not imprisonment. Together, we made this possible. The drug court program has been a success, thanks in part to your support in funding both the court and the treatment.
And I thank you for passage this past year of the Overdose Protection Act. We should not be prosecuting those Good Samaritans and health professionals who are trying to help in a life-threatening overdose situation.
Treating non-violent drug offenders is 2/3 less expensive than housing them in prison. And more importantly--as long as they have not violently victimized society--everyone deserves a second chance, because no life is disposable.
I am not satisfied to have this as merely a pilot project; I call for a transformatio of the way we deal with drug abuse and incarceration. So today I ask this Legislature to join me in this commitment that no life is disposable.
I propose mandatory treatment for every non-violent offender with a drug abuse problem, not just a select few. It will send a clear message to those who have fallen victim to the disease of drug abuse--we want to help you, not throw you away. We will require you to get treatment. Your life has value. Every one of God's creations can be redeemed.
Gov. Christie noted, "By signing Pamela's Law, we are continuing to address the real world impact of these so-called 'bath salt' designer drugs. These chemicals have no valid medical use and can only cause life-threatening harm to those who ingest them."
These designer drugs, labeled as "bath salts," have been associated with intense, severe side effects that have led to suicidal thoughts and violent outbursts. They are frequently marketed as cocaine substitutes and recently had been available for purchase on the internet and in retail establishments such as smoke shops. Unlike other legitimate substances that are misused to produce a high, like glue or gasoline, these "bath salts" have no other legitimate purpose.
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