State of New Jersey Archives: on Drugs

Ray Lesniak: Drug courts make our community safer, and save money

Drug dealing is a persistent threat to our residents. Senator Lesniak has sponsored the law expanding drug and mental health courts to give addicted or mentally ill offenders an opportunity to get supervised treatment under a program which has reduced repeat offenses by 66%.

"Drug Court saved the life of one of the intruders who broke into my home and robbed me in the middle of the night three years ago, and the program made our community safer by giving him an opportunity to kick his drug habit and lead a productive, crime free life. Unfortunately, his partner in crime was not eligible to receive the intense treatment for his drug addiction provided by our drug courts because of prior offenses. The time that he served in jail was more costly and less likely to aid his recovery or lessen his likelihood of committing another crime. Our communities will be safer and taxpayer costs will be saved as our prison population is reduced as a result [of drug courts]."

Source: 2016-17 N.J. Governor campaign website,

Phil Murphy: Addiction is an illness, & treatable with right resources

Too many residents and their families continue to struggle with addiction. Too many communities continue to be ravaged by an epidemic of overdoses, particularly from opioids. Most tragically, over the last decade, 5,000 residents of our state have died from heroin and opioid overdoses alone. These deaths are entirely preventable. Phil recognizes that addiction is an illness, and that it is treatable with the right resources and focus in place. As governor, Phil will remove the the stigma that surrounds addiction and tackle our opioid epidemic by:
Source: 2017 N.J. gubernatorial campaign website, Jun 6, 2017

Chris Christie: Jailing & stigmatizing addiction victims won't help

The epidemic of addiction that is ravaging our state and its people--it is ravaging our entire country. Yet, very few people want to talk about it. We want to continue to pretend that it is isolated to one class of people or one type of family in our state. We want to continue to take the same approaches we have taken for thirty years or more--to jail those who have this disease. We want to close our eyes and hope this scourge passes by our own homes--if we hope and pray just hard enough to make it so.

Well, hoping and praying alone will not make it better. Arresting, jailing and stigmatizing the victims will not make it better. Our neighbors are dying. Our co-workers are dying. Our children are dying. Every day. In numbers we can no longer ignore.

Drug addiction is a disease. It is not a moral failing. It is a disease that can be treated. By treating the disease with the methods we know and treating its victims with understanding and compassion, we have a chance to save lives

Source: 2017 State of the State address to N.J. Legislature Jan 10, 2017

Tom MacArthur: Treatment instead of prison for non-violent offenders

Tom recognizes the growing problem of prescription drug abuse, and the resulting scourge of heroin addiction. Tom believes in treatment instead of prison for non-violent offenders, and for harsh penalties for drug dealers. Tom will help local law-enforcement officials, parents, schools and addiction centers combat the alarming and growing heroin epidemic in South Jersey and along the shore.
Source: 2014 N.J. House campaign website, Nov 4, 2014

Jeff Bell: Decriminalizing pot will only produce more pot users

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Never legalize marijuana"?

A: Strongly support. Decriminalizing or legalizing pot will only produce more pot users. This would hurt our schools, our neighborhoods, our places of work, and families. We must view narcotics as a moral threat to society because they risk harm not just for the user, but those around him. In that light, it is extremely disappointing that the Obama Justice Department is effectively ignoring federal law by allowing two states, Colorado and Washington, to proceed in legalizing marijuana. Congress must speak up for the defense of the federal prohibition on narcotics. Otherwise we risk a society that is further broken by drug use when drugs are freely available for abuse.

Source: Email interview for 2014 N.J. Senate race with OnTheIssues Jul 1, 2014

Chris Christie: Drug courts: mandate treatment, not imprisonment

We must reach out a hand of compassion and common sense to those who commit non-violent crimes. We must do a better job of reclaiming their lives and putting them back on the road to success and engagement with society. My belief is simple: every human life is precious, and no life is disposable.

That is why I proposed last year to change our approach to non-violent drug offenders, and mandate treatment, not imprisonment. Together, we made this possible. The drug court program has been a success, thanks in part to your support in funding both the court and the treatment.

And I thank you for passage this past year of the Overdose Protection Act. We should not be prosecuting those Good Samaritans and health professionals who are trying to help in a life-threatening overdose situation.

Source: 2014 State of the State address to N.J. Legislature Jan 14, 2014

Chris Christie: Drug treatment rather than non-violent offenders in prison

Let us reclaim the lives of those drug offenders who have not committed a violent crime, by investing in drug treatment--in an in-house, secure facility--rather than putting them in prison.

Treating non-violent drug offenders is 2/3 less expensive than housing them in prison. And more importantly--as long as they have not violently victimized society--everyone deserves a second chance, because no life is disposable.

I am not satisfied to have this as merely a pilot project; I call for a transformatio of the way we deal with drug abuse and incarceration. So today I ask this Legislature to join me in this commitment that no life is disposable.

I propose mandatory treatment for every non-violent offender with a drug abuse problem, not just a select few. It will send a clear message to those who have fallen victim to the disease of drug abuse--we want to help you, not throw you away. We will require you to get treatment. Your life has value. Every one of God's creations can be redeemed.

Source: N.J. 2012 State of the State Address Jan 17, 2012

Joe Kyrillos: Keep medical marijuana restricted

ACR 151, Concerning Legislative Review of the NJ Medical Marijuana Program, Passed the N.J. Senate 22-16, with Joe Kyrillos voting NO, indicating opposition to expanding New Jersey's Medical Marijuana Program. Summary:
Source: N.J. Bill ACR 151 summary Dec 13, 2010

Cory Booker: Never attracted to drink and drugs, even as teenager

In a city not known for its salad bars, Booker is an anomaly, and his vegetarian diet is only part of it. He has no known vices or addictions (except books--a friend once joked that Booker's crack den was Barnes and Noble); drink and drugs have never held any allure. During high school, friends would offer him money just to see him take a sip of beer.

In mission and temperament, Booker is the quintessential designated driver. "TV, food, alcohol, sex--they're all things we can fill our lives with that can distract us from our purpose," he says. "I was one of those kids who wanted to be a good kid," he notes.

Source: Oprah Magazine on 2013 N.J. Senate race Sep 1, 2010

Joe Pennacchio: Strengthen penalties for meth & other drug offenses