N.J. Assembly Committee Passes Important Bills
The New Jersey Assembly committee has passed a bill defining addiction as a mental illness. The bill was drafted by Assemblyman Raj Mukherji after meeting with parents grieving the loss of their children from overdoses. Both the parents and Mukherji felt the community needed to approach addiction the same way it approaches mental illness, giving help when help is needed.
This bill will now order addicts to participate in an outpatient treatment program if their actions are harmful to themselves or others around them. Before this bill passed, an addiction diagnoses would not qualify a patient for admission into these programs. But because addiction is now considered a mental illness, addicts will be given the treatments options they need to recover.
Additionally, the committee approved a bill named “Nick Rohdes’ Law.” This law is supported by the same parents who inspired Mukherji to draft the previous bill. It will regulate recovery homes and sober living houses in New Jersey. According to the bill, if a patient consents, the facility will be required to inform a patient’s emergency contact of a release. The law will also put the Department of Human Services in charge of monitoring and licensing recovery homes.