I was honored to be invited to witness Gov. Chris Christie sign the good Samaritan/naxolone bill into law. This bill was a combination of two bills that so many parents across the state fought so hard for. Many of those parents lost their children to overdoses. Getting this bill signed was no small feat.
Last year, we were shocked when the governor vetoed the Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act, as other states across the country were acknowledging the importance of enacting such a law to save lives. No doubt, Jon Bon Jovi's support helped to finally convince the governor to sign a similar bill. But the families who did not want another family to live their nightmare are the real reason this bill was finally signed.
I was disappointed that The Press gave so little coverage to the bill signing. A proposal to increase penalties for heroin possession was on the front page a few days later. What does that say about our priorities?
This new law is about encouraging people to call 911 to save a life. The entire reason for the law is to ease their fear and get them to make the call to save their friend instead of leaving them without treatment to die.
Counselors and judges tell addicts every day, "If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you always got." The same thing applies to how we are handling addiction.
Even though current treatment programs are not working for so many of the young people, we keep using the same treatment plan and expect it to work. We keep throwing young people in jail and expect them to be cured. We release them into a society full of judgment and expect them to do well, while dealing with the stigma they face every minute of every day.