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Poll: Will Christie’s Approach to Drug Addiction Benefit the State?

The governor proposes new strategies for what’s become a signature issue, but will they make a difference?

In his State of the State address, Gov. Chris Christie spelled out four new strategies for addressing the rising number of drug overdose deaths in the state. They include adding $100 million to the budget for mental-health and addiction treatment and converting the Mid-State Correctional Facility at Fort Dix into a treatment facility for inmates.

Addiction treatment has become something of a signature issue for the governor, who has signed laws expanding the use of drug courts to divert nonviolent drug offenders away from prison and providing immunity to those who aid overdose victims.

But questions remain about whether the funding will survive the budget process, and how the new programs will affect those with addictions who are in need of inpatient treatment.

What do you think of Christie’s strategy?

  • The governor has shown his commitment to this issue, and the new strategies he announced significantly advance it. The additional state and federal Medicaid money to reimburse treatment providers will encourage more access to treatment, and the use of a dedicated facility for inmates will help those with addiction reenter life outside of prison.

  • While more details are needed about the proposals, it sounds like a step in the right direction. Christie’s strategies are more likely to succeed if they also expand access to inpatient facilities, which is a current problem. While I like what I hear, we’re a long way from knowing whether the approach will work.

  • While these approaches could work in theory, I remain noncommittal about whether to endorse them. Not only do we need more details, we also need to know if the policies will be effective if they’re enacted.

  • Christie has talked a lot about drug treatment, but the problem has only grown worse during his governorship. I’m not opposed to the new strategies, but it will take a lot more from the governor before I can feel secure that his approach is right.

  • Christie is avoiding issues that affect more residents, like problems with pensions and transportation-funding shortfalls, and using drug treatment as a distraction. I have no faith in his ability or commitment to this issue in the long term.

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