TRENTON – Veteran state Senator Joe Vitale (D-19) has worked successfully across the aisle with Republican Gov. Chris Christie, specifically on a good Samaritan bill, which Christie signed into law in 2013, which assures that drug users’ fear of prosecution doesn’t get in the way of medical help for OD victims.
Today, as he departed the chamber following Christie’s State of the State Address amid much heaped irritation on the governor over his 2016 presidential designs, Vitale chose to focus on Christie’s positive statements, eschewing criticism of the governor’s national tang.
“Right now there are numerous federal, state, and county government programs, providers, and nonprofit partners, who fund and deliver some form of adult addiction services,” said Christie. “How to access those services can be difficult and overwhelming when confronted with the unintended bureaucracy of options. Contacting multiple agencies and trying to identify the right treatment is challenging enough, but even more so for individuals in crisis.
“If we are able to make it easier for individuals battling addiction and their loved ones to access the right services at the right time, we can save lives,” he added. “This year, our administration will launch the first phase of a reform effort to make all of these services available from a single point of entry.
Vitale said he takes Christie at his word, encouraged by their work together.
“We have to make investments, and I have been working with him [the governor] to get that into the budget this year,” the senator said. “You can’t have a sustainable treatment more opportunities.
“It was a good speech,” added Vitale, generally viewed as a progressive member of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
“It was a call to action,” the lawmaker added. “Let’s see how that goes.”