Legal Issues

States Need More Urgency on Prescription Drug Issues

After several years of delay, administrators have finally launched the New Jersey Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. A writer from the JohnsAddiction web site reached out to me for a comment since I work with Sunrise Detox in New Jersey, and I was honestly surprised the NJPDMP had not already been in use! I was on the …

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Prevention of Drug Crimes is At Least As Important as Management

New Jersey lawmakers are looking closely at the prisons and how they are full of drug offenders these days. Many are considered “low-level” or non-violent offenders. The efforts of some New Jersey lawmakers to introduce legislation that would automatically expunge the criminal records of first-time, nonviolent drug offenders is a sensible idea that should earn …

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Proposed New Jersey Law Neglects Need For Increased Drug Abuse Prevention

New Jersey legislators Jerry Green, Annette Quijano, and Bonnie Watson Coleman are sponsoring a bill to remove the criminal record of first offense, non-violent drug offenders. According to the statement from the lawmakers, “To qualify for automatic expungement, the person cannot have been convicted of any prior crime or have been adjudged a disorderly person or petty disorderly person …

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Don’t Decriminalize Marijuana Possession in New Jersey

State lawmakers recently advanced a reckless bill that would make possession of 15 grams of marijuana, or approximately 30 joints, punishable by fines similar to those for driving up to 20 mph over the speed limit. As someone who has long advocated for treatment rather than jail for nonviolent drug offenders, I am concerned this fine is akin …

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Is Drug Abuse Covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act?

There are a lot of stories going around out there about how you are protected by the ADA and cannot lose your job for being an addict. That is only true in some cases, and you can always be disciplined if you are unable to do your job. When exactly does an employee with an alcohol or …

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Happy Birthday AA — 75 Years and Counting

June 10th, 2010, marks the 75th birthday of Alcoholics Anonymous, the first effective treatment for addiction. The American Medical Association began defining alcoholism as a disease in 1956. Not too long thereafter, they included other forms of addiction as well, but for some reason the disease concept of addiction has failed to gain wide public understanding. …

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What About Confidentiality and Anonymity?

We speak of “confidentiality” in detox and treatment, and “anonymity” in some of the recovery groups, such as AA, NA, Overeaters Anonymous, and so forth.  What does all of this stuff mean, and why should we care about it? Well, let’s handle confidentiality first, because many of its principles apply to anonymity as well. Confidentiality …

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If you keep on doing what you used to do, you’ll get what you used to get. On the other hand…

This evening I was thinking back to the few weeks immediately prior to when my wife and I got sober.  Things were not going well for us at that point.  We had been evicted from two homes within the past year, and had two homes foreclosed — one of them the house where my mother …

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The First Step Is No Theory — Unmanageability

“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives had become unmanageable.” (The First Step of Alcoholics Anonymous, used by all 12-step programs in modified form.) We discussed powerlessness last week. We found that we are not powerless over alcohol and other drugs as long as we are not using them. We talked about the fact …

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