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Some Question Fairness of New Jersey Drug Treatment Plan

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s plan for mandatory treatment for all low-level drug offenders could reduce treatment slots for people who seek treatment voluntarily, but don’t have the money to pay for it, critics say.

The governor’s plan, which would make New Jersey the first state to require treatment for nonviolent offenders who are addicted to drugs,  has been praised by addiction experts, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Some providers point out that the plan would give priority to criminals, some of whom do not want treatment. Providers say that their centers often have waiting lists, and state money to pay for those who cannot afford treatment sometimes runs out before the end of the year, or is frozen.

Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Governor Christie, disputed the claim that the governor’s plan takes away services from others. “What we’re attempting to do is to address a very serious societal problem,” he said. “In doing that, we are not diminishing the addiction services outside the criminal justice system.”

The system that would require drug treatment for low-level offenders, called drug court, could cost up to $35 million, the article notes. The mandatory program would double the court’s current 4,000 participants. Governor Christie has proposed spending $2.5 million for fiscal 2013 to create the mandatory program.

2 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of fja
    fja / May 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

    When this happens how motivated will one who is mandated be,People lie to avoid prison including dealers,maybe they can build a new list of potental cutomers.!!!!!!

  2. meltee / May 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I am not a fan of many of Christie’s proposals, but this one makes sense.
    Do the critics of his proposals suggest that drug offenders just be tossed into jail? I thought the field has been pushing for treatment instead of punishment for offenders.
    One comment from the critics is that some offenders don’t want treatment. This is true of many people who wind up in treatment, just look at the research. A lot of people entering treatment are doing so to comply with pressure (an EAP program, student assistance program, DWI license restoration program, drug court referral, a full on family intervention) but once there, if the treatment program is any good, they benefit from it.
    Besides, soon expanded insurance coverage under ACA will provide more resources for those who want treatment but can’t afford it.

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