Criminal Justice Reform
The New Solutions Campaign in New Jersey was launched in 2008 in an effort to address the economically unsustainable and counterproductive consequences of excessive rates of incarceration in New Jersey. Our first victory was the repeal of some of New Jersey’s harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, which tore apart minority communities, unnecessarily strained our prison system and wasted enormous amounts of taxpayer money. Read our report, “Wasting Money, Wasting Lives: Calculating the Hidden Costs of Incarceration in New Jersey” and learn more about winning drug free zone reform.
The Campaign is currently advocating for a number of reforms designed to restore fundamental fairness to the justice system, eliminate racial disparities in administration and enforcement, reduce crime, restore public safety and save taxpayer money. To learn more, click here.
Sterile Syringe Access and Harm Reduction
New Jersey's historical refusal to allow injection drug users access to sterile syringes seriously hindered disease prevention efforts and contributed to the state having the fifth highest number of adult HIV cases in the nation. In response to this public health crisis, DPA created the Campaign for a Healthier New Jersey and successfully advocated for the creation of syringe access programs as well as the non-prescription sale of syringes in pharmacies. Both of these reforms were major victories in the fight against HIV, hepatitis C and other blood-borne infections.
Our Hepatitis C Action Campaign also supports requiring hospitals and health care professionals to offer hepatitis C testing to the age group at the highest risk of being infected with the virus. Click here to learn how you can get involved in the fight against this deadly epidemic.
In New Jersey, overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death. Almost 6,000 people have died from drug overdoses in New Jersey since 2004. These deaths are preventable. Unfortunately, our current policies focus on punishment and drive people into the shadows and away from help in overdose situations. As a result, the Drug Policy Alliance recently launched the Overdose Prevention Campaign in order to promote public health policies aimed at raising awareness about drug overdose and reducing the number of overdose deaths. Our biggest victory to date came on May 3, 2013 when Governor Christie signed the Overdose Prevention Act, which grants legal immunity to people who witness a drug overdose and call for help and expands access to naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote. To read more about this victory, click here.
Each year thousands of New Jerseyans are diagnosed with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other debilitating illnesses. For some patients, currently available medications will not relieve their terrible symptoms. Medical marijuana could reduce suffering and improve the quality of life for these patients.
The Drug Policy Alliance launched the Compassionate Use Campaign to advocate for legislation allowing seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation. We and our coalition partners, patient and family advocates were successful when S119/A804, the “Compassionate Use Act,” was enacted. This law is a major victory in the fight for the compassionate and common sense response to suffering.
For more information on becoming a registered patient, caregiver or registered physician, please visit the Department of Health’s Medical Marijuana Program website.
The Drug Policy Alliance also seeks to reform New Jersey’s marijuana laws by legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol for adults. For more information on how you can support this campaign, click here.