Source: COA Radio.com
In 2014, the New Jersey state Medical Examiner’s Office reported 1,310 deaths from heroin, cocaine and prescription drug abuse. That is more than double the 561 deaths from car accidents. A recent report from the Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use by New Jersey’s Youth and Young Adults identifies heroin and opiate abuse as “the number one health care crisis” confronting the State. Yet, two new State laws that could provide major assistance to students battling addiction have recently been undercut.
On Solutions, an original COA Recovery Radio talk show focused on ways to fix the growing addiction epidemic, host Michael DeLeon provided details: “Governor Chris Christie did sign legislation mandating all colleges in New Jersey to implement recovery housing. “But it gives colleges four years to implement it. That is absurd.”
All the data shows that recovery housing provides major benefits to students struggling with addiction, he noted, by offering them a living environment that significantly reduces risk of relapse. That is important, since one in three college freshmen drop out and only 50% of incoming freshmen graduate with a degree. “The overwhelming reason for that is drugs & alcohol,” he said. “So why would we wait four years to implement this new law?”
DeLeon, who is a trustee of Cumberland Community College and producer of two highly acclaimed documentaries about drug addiction in the U.S., Kids are Dying and An American Epidemic, suggested that each college install a dedicated Recovery Coach who will act as a resource for students in recovery. He noted, however, that even Cumberland “doesn’t take student addiction seriously.”
Another New Jersey law that could help stem the state’s addiction epidemic among students has fared even worse. This week, Governor Chris Christie issued a conditional veto of a bill that would expand the state’s Recovery High School program from one to four schools.
“The prognosis for students completing a drug treatment program is poor, with relapse rates up to 75% when they return to school,” said DeLeon on last night’s show. “However, a recent task force report found that this risk can be dramatically reduced if students attend a recovery school, which features a supportive environment for recovery.”
DeLeon noted that last year, legislation introduced by State Senator Raymond Lesniak resulted in the first recovery high school in Union County. But this week’s veto, he said, “makes it virtually impossible for NJ to embrace recovery high schools”.
To listen to his shows, go to http://www.coaradio.com/solutions.