New Jersey, along with many other states in the country, is facing a massive drug problem that has only expanded and become more dangerous in the last few years. In 2013, more than 33,000 people sought treatment for addictions to heroin or other opiates in New Jersey, a number that Essex County drug possession attorneys say has increased more than 50 percent since 2006.
The rapidly growing number of people who use, abuse and sell heroin in the state has encouraged a bipartisan team of legislators to fight back with plans for new laws in a proposed package of bills aimed at preventing drug use and providing treatment options and alternatives for current addicts.
What’s in the Package?
The proposed package covers a variety of options for combating heroin use and sales. Because there is no one definitive cure to end a drug addiction, lawmakers included a wide variety of options to improve the methods for handling drug rehabilitation and control as a whole. Included in the package are the following proposed measures, which deal with several aspects of the problem.
- One bill seeks to incentivize treatment options by offering providers greater Medicaid reimbursements. Another has plans for a pilot program that will make the Medicaid program available to prisoners who are online casino awaiting trial.
- A proposed bill would obligate colleges and universities to provide housing options for students recovering from drug addiction and substance abuse. The state’s Department of Education would also be required to re-evaluate the current curriculum on drug prevention.
- Another bill will require all physicians to take part in a state prescription monitoring program, to better pinpoint where people are obtaining prescriptions for opiates from multiple doctors, and to find people who operate “pill mills” through which doctors provide unnecessary medications to addicts. Currently, participation in this program is left to the discretion of individual doctors.
- Through another bill, lawmakers hope to increase funding for substance abuse prevention by $5 million.
The entire package is comprised of 21 bills, and State Senator Joseph Vitale (D-19) has been leading the efforts to combat the state’s drug crisis. The overall tone of the package aims at addressing drug addiction as a mental health problem instead of a law enforcement problem. As Vitale said, “addiction is a lifelong illness and should be treated exactly the same as any other physical illness. We want to make sure that this is…a holistic strategy in terms of addressing all the elements of addiction.”
Many drug possession lawyers say that too often, their clients are detained or arrested and sentenced without being offered options for treatment, such as addiction counseling, rehabilitation programs or drug substitutes to help them through withdrawal. With the help of the proposed reform package, Scott Gorman of The Gorman Law Firm hopes that those who are suffering from addiction will get the help they need. If you have been charged with a heroin crime, contact Scott today for a free, no-strings-attached consultation about your case.
Published in Categories: Drug Posession