Heroin addiction and other drug abuse is a growing problem in Jersey – in the cities, the suburbs, and even in rural areas.

Governor Christie says his “drug court” proposal will help to combat the problem.

During his latest town hall meeting in South Plainfield, the Governor said his plan calls for drug courts to be operating in every County in the Garden state – and every non-violent drug offender has to be sent to a security facility for one year – for drug treatment.

” Now some people have said well – you can’t force people into treatment unless they’re ready ” said the Governor, ” but have never met the person in my life – who has willingly gone to drug treatment.”

He says ” instead of spending 49 thousand dollars a year – which is what it costs us to warehouse someone in a state prison, we can send them to in-patient secure, year-long drug rehabilitation – for 24 thousand dollars a year…you know if people get treatment, their long-term recidivism rate -of going back to drug abuse and crime -goes down precipitously – but more than that, I absolutely believe that every life is precious.”

The Governor adds the problem ” is not just in our cities, it’s in our suburbs, it’s not just in our suburbs, it’s in our rural areas – drug availability and abuse is everywhere, and we need to start dealing with treating these folks – it is a disease, and has to be treated as such – and unless we’re going to be willing to step up and do that we’re never going to be able to get our arms around the problem – I believe in my heart that if we don’t deal with this problem in this way – that we’re never ever going to get our arms around this issue.”

He says ” we’ve got close to 7 thousand non-violent drug offenders in prison that deserve a second chance…, and I think New Jersey is about giving people a second chance – that’s what we should be about -and so I’m going to be pushing for this and I hope by July 1st I’ll be able to sign it into law.”