9/11/2014, Bill Package to Combat Substance Abuse (NJ)

Politicians don’t know what they’re doing…


The first bill (A-3227) would help families get treatment for a loved one by amending the state law governing involuntary commitment to treatment to clarify that the term “mental illness” includes substance use disorder if an individual’s substance use makes them “dangerous to self” or “dangerous to others or property.”

“As our law stands now, family members’ hands are tied when it comes to getting help for a loved one with a substance abuse problem, unless the addict chooses to get help themselves,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), Chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee.

[Forcing an addict into treatment will not make the problem go away, nor will it make it any better.  In fact, it’s very likely to make things worse.]

The second bill (A-3228), known as “Nick Rohdes’ Law,” would amend the state’s substance abuse treatment laws in relation to the regulation of sober living homes.

The bill is named in honor of the memory of Nick Rohdes, a young man from Colts Neck who lost his battle with substance abuse at the age of 24 in February 2014. Nick had been in a sober living home and was evicted without any notification to family or next of kin when he relapsed and lost his life to addiction.

In order to help prevent more of these tragedies and ensure a supportive environment when an addict most needs it, the bill would require transitional sober living homes, halfway houses, and other residential aftercare facilities to provide notice to a patient’s spouse, parent, guardian, designated next-of-kin, or other designated emergency contact upon the patient’s release from treatment at the facility, as long as such notice is provided in a manner that is consistent with federal HIPAA and other confidentiality requirements.

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