ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took his crusade against drug addiction to an annual conference in Atlantic City.
Christie told more than 1,000 attendees at the meeting sponsored by the New Jersey Prevention Network that part of the opioid problem stems from an inaccurate perception.READ MORE: Gasoline Shortage Appears To Be Creeping Into Philadelphia Region As Colonial Pipeline Resumes Operations
“We are acting as if this is not a disease. It is. Like lung cancer, like diabetes, like heart disease, this is a disease,” Christie said. “And it is a disease that’s not curable, but it’s treatable.”
Once the stigma is addressed, treatment is key, and he touted a number of efforts in New Jersey to do that, like mandatory six-month insurance coverage and a special facility for addicted state prisoners.READ MORE: Reports Of Explosions Following 2-Alarm House Fire In Chester
But just locking people up isn’t the answer anymore.
“I have no problem with jailing dealers, but here’s the problem, we’re jailing addicts,” the governor added. “We’re jailing more addicts than we’re jailing dealers and we’ve been doing it for 30 years and it started out with the best of intentions. But you know what? It hasn’t worked.”
Christie is in favor of incarcerating doctors who overprescribe addictive painkillers merely to make money. He suggests an education program for doctors not to rely solely on what drug companies tell them. He also advocated a national network to share prescription information across state lines. The governor pointed to a program where New Jersey shares its database with seven other states as a way to curb that part of the problem.MORE NEWS: Police Standoff Ends In Holmesburg With Armed Woman Taken Into Custody
Another idea, getting to young people in a way they understand. He plans to reach out as part of his role chairing a White House panel on drug addiction to social media companies like Facebook to spread his message. He says traditional methods of informing them just aren’t working now.