Friday, June 12, 2009


On Wednesday, as a legislative leader for Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap (CATG), along with peers who did the same statewide to their legislative districts, I delivered a package and postcards to my district office (11) in Monmouth County to Senator Sean Kean, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini and Assemblyman David Rible. The legislators where not in the office when I arrived, but I spoke with their Chief of Staff, Ryan Sharpe. He listened carefully and respectfully as I explained about friends of mine who had sons who died while trying to access addiction treatment, and another who had no access through their own health care policy and had to pay for treatment out of their own pocket. They ended up sending their son out-of-state for treatment. Ryan Sharpe said that Assemblywoman Angelini was supportive on the issues.

The package I delivered held NCADD-NJ’s new primer detailing the state’s addiction treatment gap and the savings the state would see by providing more treatment. Also included were individual cards from other citizens who support increasing a small tax on beer distributors—just 5 cents a gallon to raise over 7.5 million for treatment. The money would go into the dedicated Alcohol Education Rehabilitation and Enforcement Fund (AEREF). With the Closing the Addiction Gap proposal, not only will lives be saved, but New Jersey would save money in its budget by reducing health care costs and the criminal justice system.

Advocates in photos: Alice Silverman visits Assemblyman Jack Connors (top left) Sue Foose, whose son Brian died due to lack of treatment resources (middle right) and Jeanette Grimes with Senate President Dick Cody's staff (bottom).