As a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor for the last 21 years, I have come to the realization that perhaps the most painful experiences for loved ones of alcohol and drug addicted clients is the experience of hopelessness that I have watched families go through in their tortured attempts to save the lives and frankly the souls of their loved ones.
As health insurance coverage is depleted and life savings exhausted I have watched family members appear in my office far too frequently with an empty stare of powerlessness wondering if they would finally receive the dreaded call that their loved ones had fallen victim to overdose and even death. I sit and stare into their eyes realizing the whole time that there is a very good chance that this may be the last family session we have because without proper Treatment options the dealer has the advantage, and what is even more painful and frankly rage inducing is the fact that these same dealers of death have thought nothing of banging on these helpless victims doors demanding payment for the poison they have enabled their loved ones to inject into their veins.
With these facts referenced ,yesterday was undoubtedly a day of great disappointment and frustration when I learned that ,Assembly Bill 4037 had met an untimely death in the NJ Assembly. It is obvious that specific to the escalating use of and deaths attributed to the abuse of controlled and other street drugs, both legislators , law enforcement officials, health care providers and educators must continue to collaborate with a multifaceted plan of attack on this formidable enemy.
To date both law enforcement individuals and healthcare providers in New Jersey have made great strides in addressing this epidemic of addiction by enhancing opportunities for treatment and emphasizing prevention.
although access to treatment is primary the need to limit access to these drugs is equally important which Assembly Bill 4037 sought to do by making it more difficult for dealers to “sell their wares” for fear of discovery and prosecution.
Currently, there are policies in place that allow for informants to be compensated but they are lacking specific parameters as most compensation amounts are left to the discretion of local county law enforcement departments. I have personally dealt with addicts over the years who had At one time-been dealers and who reported that the last thing a dealer wanted was for his or her business to be interrupted and their financial gains dissolved.
New Jersey Assembly Bill 4037 would have taken from these dealers of death 10 percent of their ill-gotten gains as an incentive to identify them securing arrest and conviction. Another 5% of the dealer’s money for would be allocated for indigent beds.
Sadly, on August 31st, 2017, Assemblyman Benson’s staff informed me that the bill would die that day. The opportunity to cut off the head of this deadly serpent had been abandoned by the very individuals of those elected to “serve in the best interest” of their constituency. Shame on them.