The way New Jersey's criminal justice system deals with drug users would change significantly under a bill headed to Gov. Chris Christie's desk.

The bill, approved in the Senate on a 36-1 vote Thursday evening, expands eligibility for the state's drug court program and mandates that nonviolent, drug-dependent offenders receive treatment rather than prison time.

It phases in a statewide program over a five-year period, beginning with at least three counties in the first year.

Christie and the Legislature would receive reports on the program every year, including completion and revocation rates, recidivism rates and costs.

Christie, a Republican and former federal prosecutor, has spoken in favor of treatment rather than prison time for drug addicts.

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