New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, spoke out on his goal to end the failed war on drugs. He stated: “We will end the failed war on drugs that believes that incarceration is the cure of every ill caused by drug abuse. We will make drug treatment available to as many of our non-violent offenders as we can and we will partner with our citizens to create a society that understands this simple truth: every life has value and no life is disposable.”
Clearly, Christie is facing a serious, career-threatening outrage right now. It’s totally probable that this is an effort at diversion. Some other warnings in reference to Chris Christie include: He supports mandatory treatment for recreational drug users (even first-time offenders). That doesn’t exactly sound like freedom. Even though Christie commendably wants to end the sequence of imprisonment, the overpowering majority of recreational drug users aren’t addicts, and don’t require treatment. Technically, New Jersey legalized medical marijuana almost four years ago but Christie has done everything in his power to stop it from actually happening. Lastly, in 2012, Christie prevented a “good Samaritan” bill that would have protected from criminal prosecution for someone who calls 911 to report a drug overdose.
With all of this being said, a Republican governor, a chief candidate for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, and a previous federal prosecutor just voiced the expression “We will end the failed war on drugs” in an inaugural speech. All of this while still in office, which seems pretty noteworthy. He also phrased “we will make drug treatment available” for non-violent offenders suggests that he has lifted from his prior policy of making treatment required. It’s not surprising to hear a politician get on the drug modification bandwagon now-a-days. However, when someone who has fought against reform as hard as Chris Christie comes out in support of change, everyone can’t help but be curious, what transformed his decision?
In my opinion, I think it’s great Christie has spoken out about wanting to put less people in jail and get people help. After his prevention of the “good Samaritan” bill (which I thought seemed like a great idea,) it can be confusing to see him supporting the idea of making treatment available as opposed to locking people up for drug related crimes. Drug policy reform supporters commended Christie for addressing the matter in his inaugural speech. Christies proposed reform also seems to have strong public support. A poll (done by the huffington post) shown in August established that most voters oppose mandatory minimum sentencing, while 38 percent believe present sentences for non-violent drug offenses are too severe.
“You can certainly make the argument that no one should try drugs in the first place, I certainly am in that camp,” Christie said in that speech. “But tens of millions of people in our society do every year, and for some people they can try it and walk away from it, but for others the first time they try it they become an addict, and they’re sick and they need treatment.” It is nice to see a governor supporting treatment for addicts and referring to them as sick instead of just bad people or crazy. Hopefully Governor Chris Christie is for real and not just trying to get support for a cause he doesn’t believe in. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.