New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spoke during at the 5th annual Faith & Freedom Coalition‘s “Road to Majority” Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. on June 20th, during which he described his views regarding the drug problem in America.
Christie admitted that the prevailing, and largely Republican-driven ‘war on drugs’ “hasn’t worked.”
In as extension of his “pro-life” agenda, Christie described his support of treatment instead of jail time for so-called non-violent drug offenders.
Christie said that being pro-life just doesn’t pertain to his stance on the abortion issue, rather, it means fighting for a person’s right to life at all stages, without regard to how problematic that person’s life gets or the turmoil they may find themselves in, as a result of the disease of addiction.
“We have tried for 40-plus years for a war on drugs that is wide and broad and it hasn’t worked. It hasn’t worked, Christie emphasized. He added, “What works is giving those people, nonviolent drug offenders, addicts, the ability to be able to get the tools they need to be able to deal with this disease. I doubt that there is a person in this room who hasn’t had the problem of drug and alcohol addiction touch their family or neighbors.”
And, in fact, throughout his term and especially over the past few years, the governor has expanded drug courts and required treatment for many who are addicted and arrested.
Where things get a little confusing is this: Christie takes a hard line when it comes to drugs and crime, which reflects the more conservative approach of law-and-order: case in point, Christie wants to tackle the crime-ridden city of Camden by disbanding and rebuilding a tougher police force.
However, when it comes to heroin abuse and prescription painkiller abuse and those who have been deemed “nonviolent offenders,” Christie advocates for treatment rather than jail time – and yet – he espouses the more conservative crackdown approach when it comes to marijuana, specifically.
Basically, it sounds like Christie’s approach to creating a drug policy is all about pick-and-choose, on a case-by-case basis, depending on the substance involved and the type of crime associated with the drug use in that particular case. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation and is less a blanket drug policy that can be applied across the board and more a set of arbitrary rules.
It sounds like Christie is starting to “get it” when it comes to drug addiction yet he still wants to distinguish between which substances are problematic and in what ways. The thing about addiction is, it doesn’t matter whether it’s alcohol, marijuana, heroin or painkillers, crack or cocaine, meth or legal amphetamines, a drug is a drug (is a drug, is a drug).
Now, personally, I am impressed that the governor recognizes that addiction is indeed a disease. This is a start. Perhaps I am a bit jaded when it comes to politicians and the prevailing attitude regarding drug use and abuse in this country. It gives me hope to hear politicians – even Republican ones, such as Gov. Chris Christie – speaking into the issue of the disease of addiction, its ravages on the individual, families, and communities as well as the advocating of treatment rather than incarceration for those who struggle with substance abuse and addiction.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, and is even facing charges and potential jail time as a result, contact an Addition Specialist at Palm Partners today. We have staff available 24/7 with whom you can speak regarding options for treatment. Facing negative consequences, such as incarceration, as a result of substance abuse is a clear indication of a possible problem, such as addiction. Call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135.