Policy Primers



The Addiction Treatment Gap Primer


The Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap primer outlines New Jersey’s treatment shortfall and the $3 billion in savings New Jersey would see if it met the treatment needs of residents.  The number of state residents demanding treatment but not able to access it exceeds 50,000, 9,400 of whom are adolescents. The need for treatment in New Jersey is far larger: there are 805,000 residents who have a drug or alcohol problem and need treatment, with only 7 percent of those being admitted. The Treatment Gap primer contains stories of families who have been directly affected by the state’s inadequate treatment capacity. One of the anecdotes recounts the death by overdose of Christian Foster, who had been on a waiting list for treatment. Since his death, his mother, Kass Foster, has worked with an addiction support group Parent-to-Parent assisting families who have an addicted son or daughter and are trying to get them into treatment Mrs. Foster stated that “addiction is the only disease that you have to wait in line for a bed. It’s an epidemic.”

A policy primer detailing this issue is available here.

Treatment Instead of Incarceration PrimerTREATMENT INSTEAD OF INCARCERATION

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-New Jersey, as part of the Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap-NJ Initiative, has just released a primer on Treatment Instead of Incarceration. The primer examines the enormous costs to the state – both financial and human – that result from imprisonment of non-violent offenders and illustrates that supervised treatment for these offenders is the more appropriate course. The primer outlines how a shift away from drug war policies such as mandatory sentencing and toward programs such as drug courts benefit both the addicted individual and society.

A policy primer detailing this issue is available here.




Alcopops Primer


Alcopops are the sweet alcohol beverages that promote underage drinking by acting as a conduit from soft drinks to alcohol. Approximately 75 percent of the alcohol consumed by youth from the ages of 14 to 17 years old is in the form of alcopops. Alcopops are incorrectly classified as beer and therefore should be reclassified to reflect the fact that the alcohol in them is a distilled spirit. The act would generate $16 million for the state, half of which should be dedicated to addiction treatment and prevention.

Youth who begin to drink alcohol before the age of 15 are seven times more likely to have alcohol related problems later in life than those who wait until they are 21. Underage drinkers are very sensitive to price and many studies have shown that increasing the price of alcohol reduces youths ability to purchase it, which results in reduced underage drinking rates.

A policy primer detailing this issue is available here.


Do you serve alcohol to minor children? Are you better off having a teen party at your house where you can monitor behavior? How do you stop other parents from allowing your children to drink alcohol at their home? There are statutes, ordinances, and cases that try to establish parameters for behavior by minors relative to their use of alcohol on private property.

A policy primer detailing this issue is available here.


Beer kegs remain one of the most common sources of alcohol at teenage parties. Parents, other adults - older siblings or friends - will supply kegs for underage drinkers, believing there is no way for police to trace the keg to them. Providing adolescents with beer barrels puts them at great risk because of excessive drinking, including binging, that often takes place at keg parties. There is a way to help stop the free-flowing keg beer that causes so much harm to youth: keg registration.

A policy primer detailing this issue is available here.



Attorney Toolkit: Substance Use DisordersATTORNEY TOOLKIT:  SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS

As a Lawyer, Why is it Important to be Knowledgeable About Substance Use Disorders, Treatment, and Recovery?

There is a lack of understanding by the public and by many lawyers and judges about addiction, treatment, and recovery.  As a lawyer, you are in a unique position to help your client overcome their addiction.  The best resolution to your case may hinge on identifying addiction as the underlying problem, assisting your client in obtaining treatment, and educating judges about addiction, treatment, and recovery. 

To effectively resolve your case, you must be able to overcome the stigma associated with this disease.  You need to be prepared to explain addiction, the effectiveness of treatment, and demonstrate to the court that your client has taken steps to address their substance use disorder.That is, you must show that your client has entered or is in the process of entering a treatment program or is participating in other self-help programs.

A policy primer detailing this issue is available here.

In Addiction Recovery:  Know Your RightsIN ADDICTION RECOVERY:  KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

This brochure is intended to give an overview of the rights responsibilities and remedies available to a recovering person or someone who cares about a recovering person. It covers a wide selection of topics affecting people in treatment and recovery. The topics in this brochure were identified based on a survey conducted by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-New Jersey and include:
Employment                                                  Criminal records
Government Services and programs           Licenses
Education                                                     Voting
Housing                                                        Policy Making

A policy primer detailing this issue is available here.


The many New Jersey residents with an alcohol or drug addiction, as well as those who are in recovery from this disease, routinely encounter stigma and discrimination. Existing policies,laws, practices and misplaced perceptions undermine acceptance of addiction as a treatable disease and health condition and restrict access to appropriate health care, employment, housing, and public benefits.

One of NCADD-NJ’s core principles is to confront the stigma surrounding alcoholism and drug addiction, and the agency remains firmly committed to this cause. In an effort to address these problems with meaningful action, NCADD-NJ convened a panel of state experts and policy-makers to examine this form of discrimination and to develop policy recommendations to overcome it. The New Jersey policy panel was prompted by the Eagleton Institute survey findings and is modeled closely after a 2003 report issued by the National Policy Panel of Join Together, a project of the Boston University School of Public Health, to address alcohol and other drug addictions.

A policy primer detailing this issue is available here.



This website is made possible, in part, by a grant from the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
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