Heroin addiction information would be expanded under proposed legislation
With heroin addiction at epidemic levels in New Jersey, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini (R-Ocean) has introduced a bill that would require the state's substance abuse treatment facilities to post information about their services on county and state websites.
Angelini said a bill she has introduced to that effect would give addicts the information they need to seek the proper help.
"The addiction epidemic is startling. This is something that we have not seen ever in the state of New Jersey," Angelini said.
Under the legislation, substance abuse treatment centers in the Garden State would have to post online information about the services they provide, their total capacity, the average waiting time for an opening and the number of expected openings on a daily basis.
"All 21 counties in the state of New Jersey have to have a list on their websites, as well as the New Jersey State Department of Human Services (DHS)," Angelini explained. "This gives the person seeking treatment an opportunity to see what's near him and what's available."
Counties and DHS have Internet technology personnel so there should be no cost attached to the bill should it become law, according to Angelini.
The goal of her legislation is simply to help those struggling with addiction, and their loved ones, find the services they need in the easiest way possible.
"When the family is in throes of trying to find help for their loved one it can be very, very overwhelming," Angelini said.
The bipartisan legislation is co-sponsored by Assembly Democrats Reed Gusciora (D-Trenton), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) and Annette Quijano (D-Union).
"We should make it easier for individuals who are battling with substance abuse and are ready to make a change to find the services they need," said Gusciora in an emailed press release on Feb. 11. "This bill would help facilitate that by having one central location where an individual can go to find the most suitable treatment facility for them."
The measure passed the Assembly Human Services Committee on Feb. 12.
Click below to read the first in our series on New Jersey's Heroin Epidemic: