Society

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie Promises to End War on Drugs in Inaugural Speech

| by Allison Geller

In the inaugural speech for his second term of office, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie vowed to end the ineffective “war on drugs.”

“We will end the failed war on drugs that believes that incarceration is the cure of every ill caused by drug abuse. We will make drug treatment available to as many of our non-violent offenders as we can and we will partner with our citizens to create a society that understands this simple truth:  every life has value and no life is disposable,” Christie said Tuesday at the War Memorial in Trenton.

Christie generally tried to strike a bipartisan tone during his remarks in light of recent scandals that have come out at a heavy cost to his reputation.

“As your governor, I will always be willing to listen, as long as that listening ends in decisive action for the people counting on us,” he said, stating that he opposed the attitude "that says I am always right and you are always wrong.”

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Christie emphasized a bipartisan, all-inclusive approach, particularly for helping drug addicts recover.

“We have to be willing to play outside the red and blue boxes the media and pundits put us in; we have to be willing to reach out to others who look or speak differently than us; we have to be willing to personally reach out a helping hand to a neighbor suffering from drug addiction, depression or the dignity stripping loss of a job,” Christie said.

Christie’s comments were greeted by applause, even in a half-filled auditorium (weather contributing to the low attendance).

“I was delighted to be present for the Governor’s swearing in and to hear him make such promising remarks surrounding drug policy reform in our state,” Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a press release

“Legislation is desperately needed to reverse the counterproductive and discriminatory consequences of the failed war on drugs. The Drug Policy Alliance and advocates throughout New Jersey look forward to working with the Christie administration to address the unacceptable and unjust consequences of the drug war,” Scotti said.

Christie made no mention of the Bridgegate scandal during his speech, keeping the emphasis squarely on making progress across party lines in his next term.

Sources: Drug Policy Alliance, Time