You have no doubt heard the sad stories of families devastated by the opiate addiction wave that has grown out of control in our state. It's very likely you know of someone in your circle and maybe in your family that's been touched by this tragic epidemic. My heart goes out to those I know and to those I don't know who are dealing with this on a daily basis.

For years people struggled with this in silence due to embarrassment or shame. Hardly anyone wanted to talk about it. But times have changed, and with open dialogue, hopefully we're making some progress in getting some people help and stopping this scourge.

We have another addiction that affects everyone in the State of New Jersey and the rest of the country. Addiction to government! We see it in the gas tax that was just past and the public question up for vote next week. Whether it's individuals getting money, benefits or subsidies from the state, or companies that rely on government contracts, or people hoping to get a government job for the security and benefits. Or handing our most personal problems over to government to fix, from neighbor disputes to divorce and child custody.

Addiction to government is out of control and getting worse, and hardly anyone wants to talk about it. Each succeeding generation thinks it's normal and expects more, and it's as insidious as our drug addiction problem. It's responsible for our struggling economy to our rising rate of fatherless children, and a host of other problems in between.

Give me an example of what you think is a huge problem in New Jersey and I'll be glad to explain how bigger government is patient zero for how it got that way. The problem will continue to worsen because we don't give too much thought to it.

We're like the little kid who's being picked on by his or her bratty brother. We just feel hurt and whine to our parents to "fix it." Well, mom and dad need to toughen up and simply say "work it out like a big boy." But our leaders aren't wise or strong enough to do that anymore. So they jump into areas that they have no business being in.

And that's why New Jersey and most of the country is addicted to government, and hardly anybody is talking about it.

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