The addiction crisis is getting worse in New Jersey. More and more kids are falling into the darkness of addiction as adults and media outlets downplay the negative impact of drugs, including pot. The Attorney General and governor have tied the hands of law enforcement making it nearly impossible to get young people the help they need and free them from the clutches of substance abuse.


Recently, I held a roundtable on the subject and brought some key leaders together. The questions we asked our roundtable of industry stakeholders, those recovering from substance abuse, and law enforcement were simple:

What can the state government do to expedite the growth of the recovery industry and save lives?

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Man with psychologist theraphy social problems concept drug addiction
Viktoriia Hnatiuk

Here are some of the ideas resulting from our conversation:

  1. Reduce the amount of time between application and inspections. Dramatically reduce the amount of time between post-inspection approval and licensing. No reason this process should take more than 14 days.
  2. Expedite the licensing of clinicians. Create standards that allow for reciprocity for workers licensed in other states meeting NJ minimum standards.
  3. Coordinate agency communication between the Division of Children and Family Services, Human Services, and Community Affairs. One agency should group applications and approve disbursements. Create an "Addiction Recovery Administrator" to facilitate new applicants so patients do not see delays in treatment or get turned away.
  4. Streamline Data Collection to be shared across agencies and with providers. This includes the history of substance abuse, involuntary holds, Narcan interventions, and drug interaction data. NJ SAMS is tedious and adds an administrative burden to recovery clinics, potentially delaying treatment and processing.
  5. The government needs to facilitate a partnership among clinics as there are currently more patients than beds. Enough work and billing to go around.
  6. NJ must recognize and define legally "Mental Health Residential". This could be used to reduce affordable housing units in towns and most importantly assign beds to those in serious need who are right now turned away to family and potentially bad influencers.
  7. Allow for involuntary holds after 72 hours in the case of Narcan use, self-harm, and mental impairment. Use the federal criminal statutes if necessary to accomplish this. Even marijuana is illegal at the federal level and the more restrictive laws take precedence. Similar to Baker and Marchman acts in Florida and California.
  8. Address the psychotic episodes coming from the use of pure THC available in vapes and in synthetic form at local retailers. Again, use law enforcement as a way of curbing use and removing products.
  9. Empower law enforcement to address drug use of underage persons in a similar way to alcohol. Arrest, custody, and parental notification.
  10. End arbitrary limits on sober living occupancy. Allow for occupancy based on space. Incentivize bigger clinics to house more people in need. Allow for clinics to manage medication to protect the health and welfare of patients and residents.

If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, please visit or

NJ schools with the worst attendance problems

These 30 schools had the highest rate of chronic absenteeism in the 2022-23 school year. Data is for the New Jersey Department of Education's annual NJ School Performance Reports.

Gallery Credit: New Jersey 101.5

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own.

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