New Jersey

Poll Shows NJ Residents Split on Marijuana Legalization

NJ Residents are split over marijuana legalization, according to a 2014 Monmouth University/ Asbury Park Press poll.

NJ Residents are split over marijuana legalization, according to a 2014 Monmouth University/ Asbury Park Press poll.(PDF)

According to a Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll, New Jersey residents are divided on whether marijuana should be legalized, and are not convinced that a recent proposal in the state legislature to legalize marijuana use is a good idea. The poll finds that most state residents say that alcohol and tobacco pose greater dangers than marijuana. This poll is considered the first Garden State poll on the topic since State Senator Nick Scutari introduced a marijuana legalization bill.

When asked whether the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use should be made legal, New Jersey residents are split down the middle with just under half (48%) in support and an almost identical number (47%) opposed. The poll states that these numbers are similar to national trends, with an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted in January finding 49% in favor and 48% opposed.

The poll results also demonstrate clear differences in opinion based on varied demographics. Poll data shows that democrats and independents are slightly more in favor of legalization than republicans. There are also significant differences in support across age and gender groups; New Jersey men are more likely than women to support marijuana, while younger adults under the age of 35 are more likely to support legalizing pot when compared to older residents.

Asked whether a bill allowing people over the age of 21 to purchase small amounts of marijuana from licensed state businesses, only 36% of New Jersey residents think it's a good idea while just under half (45%) think it's a bad idea. 18% had no opinion.

Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute summarized some of this in his news release about the poll:

“The marijuana debate has been engaged and neither side has the distinct advantage right now. There isn't a lot of support for the Scutari proposal, but most people actually see alcohol and tobacco as bigger dangers.”

Murray suggests that perhaps some of the opposition may simply be a reaction against legalizing something that has been illicit for so long.

The poll was conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from March 30th to April 1st, 2014, with a reported margin of error supporting the summary findings. New Jersey is split on the issue. It is now important to help educate everyone on the facts. Only be removing some of the stigma of drug addiction, which is already happening in New Jersey, will we gain access to the truth about drug abuse, addiction, and the role marijuana appears to play in drug addiction and treatment.

NJ marijuana opinion poll results
Courtesy Sunrise Detox New Jersey

NJ Drug Problems Reach Epidemic Status

As I have mentioned in previous posts this has now reached “Epidemic” status in New Jersey. The NJ Authorities now say “no community, however affluent or remote, is immune to the circumstances and impact of this trend. ” According to the 2010 report there were 843 drug related deaths , of which 402 were solely attributed to prescription drugs. The total number in 2011 jumped to 1008!  The results of a 2 year investigation are being released today, with a press conference this morning.

I have previously highlighted how we  need to enforce the prescription monitoring bill already passed here in the state. We have already committed resources to add substance (drug, alcohol) detox facilities in the state, with full facilities under construction Sunrise Detox Toms River and Sunrise Detox Cherry Hill.
How is this epidemic affecting the States Economy ?  According to the old report “Beyond the devastation of lost lives, law enforcement authorities at multiple levels told the Commission that the drug trade and the resulting imperative of addiction have produced spikes in burglaries and other crimes of theft all across New Jersey”
We will find out shortly what they've learned since 2010, but the inside chatter suggests it won't be good. All of the bad numbers are way up, in some cases to unbelievable levels, and while some of the “good numbers” are also up (such as the number of treatment beds planned by Sunrise Detox), most are not up nearly enough.In many areas of drug abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment, the old way of doing things is no longer adequate. “More” of the same will not achieve the desired results. The 2010 report ended with that idea for moving forward:
The record of this investigation demonstrates that the challenges posed by drug abuse have taken on disturbing new dimensions that call into question the conventional wisdom regarding gateway drugs and addiction, and the adequacy of current medical oversight and law enforcement strategies. We now live in a State where the abuse of legitimate prescription pills serves increasingly as a route to the unlawful world of heroin, which is cheap, widely available and so pure it can be used without the junkie stigma or mess of needles while producing a high matching or exceeding that of any legitimate pharmaceutical painkiller. This tangled intersection of legal and illicit narcotics constitutes a crisis whose multiple consequences are plain for all to see: the countless deaths and damaged lives, the spiking crime, the subverted recesses of the medical and pharmaceutical professions, the exploitation by gangs and other criminal elements.”

Adrian Hollywood Awarded Riley Regan Award by NJ EAPA

photo of family of Adrian Hollywood and NJ EAPA leadership

From left, (seated) Kevin O’Neill, past president NJ EAPA and CEAP of NJ Transit, Mark Hassell NJ EAPA Treasurer and EAP of United Airlines, (standing) Tom Garofola, NJ EAPA President, Hollywood family members Sheena Marie, Tara Margaret, and Kim Brown (the daughters and widow of Adrian Hollywood).

On April 19, 2013 the New Jersey Chapter of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) awarded the inaugural Riley Regan Award to Adrian Hollywood (deceased). Adrian was an employee assistance professional with a long history of dedication to serving the communities of New Jersey. Most recently, Adrian was known for his work with American Addiction Centers and NCADD.

The Riley Regan Award is dedicated to “the individual who exemplifies the service of an EAP”. At the same meeting, Barbara Martin, of Princeton Healthcare, was named the NJ EAP of the year.

Adrian was listed as an “Advocacy Leader” in the NCADD New Jersey directory, with the following description:

“Adrian Hollywood has worked for the past 13 years in the behavioral health community, primarily as a counselor. His most recent position, as a Treatment Consultant, enabled him to help individuals get placed in treatment throughout New Jersey and the rest of the country. Adrian has been a member of the New Jersey Employee Assistance Professionals since March 2010, working with hospitals, unions, and professional groups regarding addiction needs. Adrian feels strongly “it is my duty to stand for those in need and ease their obstacles in their communities.”

The NCADD is a private nonprofit organization which advocates on behalf of those affected by drug and alcohol addiction and their families. The organization manages more than $22 million in addiction treatment funding, and operates the Substance Abuse Initiative (SAI), funded by the New Jersey Division of Family Development. The SAI  provides addiction and mental health clinical assessments and care coordination services to welfare recipients throughout the state of New Jersey.

NJ EAPA members John Moriarty and Jill Pulvirent

NJ EAPA member John F. Moriarty III of Sunrise Detox of Stirling, NJ (a substance abuse treatment facility in Morris County) with Jill Pulvirent, LCSW, an Outreach Specialist at American Addiction Centers and former friend and colleague of Adrian Hollywood.