Chris Christie on Drugs



Treat drug demand like a disease and offer treatment

Gov. Christie: Now, we also need to lower demand. And the way to lower demand is to start treating people again. And for every family out there tonight who has lost a loved one to fentanyl or to any other type of opioid overdose, what you know is all you want is a chance for them to win their lives back. When I'm president of the United States, we're going to call this what it is. It is a disease like heart disease, diabetes, or any other disease like cancer that can be treated, should be treated.
Source: NBC News 2023 Republican primary debate in Miami , Nov 8, 2023

End war on drugs: treat addicts; penalize dealers

Mike Pence, who served as vice president under Trump, has long been against marijuana use and has consistently opposed even incremental reform, claiming that cannabis is a gateway to other illicit drugs. As governor of Indiana, he pushed the legislature to ramp up criminalization of illicit substances--saying the state was "leaning into the war on drugs"

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, meanwhile, claimed in June that he would "end" the drug war if elected, but only partially. He said he wants to focus instead on treatment, but he prescribed a tougher approach for those who sell drugs. "The dealers who are making money off of this, you bet they should be penalized," he said during a CNN townhall. And Christie still opposes the legalization of marijuana, describing tax revenue from regulated sales as "blood money."

Source: 2024 Presidential campaign "Marijuana Moment" press release , Aug 15, 2023

End the war on drugs, it's a disease; focus on treatment

Q: What do you intend to do about the war on drugs?

CHRISTIE: End it. I want to focus on treatment. It is a disease and can be treated. It's not easy, but neither is treatment for cancer or heart disease in many cases. We need to make treatment broadly available to everyone who is addicted, because with Medicaid Assisted Treatment, with talk therapy, with those things combined, we can save not every life, but many of those lives.

Source: CNN Town Hall: interviews of 2024 presidential candidates , Jun 12, 2023

Jailing & stigmatizing addiction victims won't help

The epidemic of addiction that is ravaging our state and its people--it is ravaging our entire country. Yet, very few people want to talk about it. We want to continue to pretend that it is isolated to one class of people or one type of family in our state. We want to continue to take the same approaches we have taken for thirty years or more--to jail those who have this disease. We want to close our eyes and hope this scourge passes by our own homes--if we hope and pray just hard enough to make it so.

Well, hoping and praying alone will not make it better. Arresting, jailing and stigmatizing the victims will not make it better. Our neighbors are dying. Our co-workers are dying. Our children are dying. Every day. In numbers we can no longer ignore.

Drug addiction is a disease. It is not a moral failing. It is a disease that can be treated. By treating the disease with the methods we know and treating its victims with understanding and compassion, we have a chance to save lives

Source: 2017 State of the State address to N.J. Legislature , Jan 10, 2017

Addiction is an illness and should be treated as such

Instead of prosecuting a failed war on drugs--a war on our own citizens--we've classified drug addiction as the illness it truly is, and worked to treat and rehabilitate some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Last year alone I signed ten new laws to address this issue, and today we're going to talk about the next steps we need to take to continue making progress.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to New Jersey legislature , Jan 12, 2016

Search for innovative ways to address drug epidemic

Since 2012 we've enacted more than a dozen laws to address the drug epidemic. In 2013 we brought in the drug court program to provide mandatory treatment to first-time, non-violent, non-dealing drug offenders. In 2014 we launched a statewide program to help reduce the number of heroin-related. Last July, we instituted a single point of entry for people to gain access to treatment. This year, I plan to ask to fund the Recovery Coach Program for an additional six counties in New Jersey.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to New Jersey legislature , Jan 12, 2016

Allow private sector to offer drug treatment programs

Q: Critics note that while you support drug treatment programs for addicts, you have opposed building more state drug treatment centers in New Jersey and they note that in 2013, only 10% of people seeking drug treatment in New Jersey could be accommodated, they also note that you want to repeal Obamacare, which has expanded insurance coverage for people with mental health problems or with substance abuse problems. Isn't there a contradiction there?

CHRISTIE: No, a few things. First off, more people are getting drug treatment today in New Jersey than ever before. We have 21 drug courts in all 21 of our counties. Secondly, I don't want this to be purely a government solution. By putting more money into our treatment budget we allow the private sector to come in to be able to provide this kind of treatment.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 8, 2015

Treatment, not jail, for drug addicts; it's a disease

Q: A video went viral this week of you talking about criminal justice, more treatment than imprisonment for people that suffer from drug addiction. What's your larger point?

CHRISTIE: My larger point, is that this is a disease. People who are committing violent acts, who are dealing drugs, they need to go to prison. But for the addicts, the people who are small-time users, we need to give them treatment. Although, I'm opposed to drug legalization.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 8, 2015

I support medical not recreational marijuana

Q: What about Colorado's marijuana legalization?

CHRISTIE: In New Jersey, we have medical marijuana laws, which I supported and implemented. This [in Colorado] is not medical marijuana. This is recreational use of marijuana. This is much different. I'm not against medical marijuana. We do it in New Jersey. But I'm against the recreational use against marijuana. If he wants to change the federal law, get Congress to pass the law to change it, and get a president to sign it.

PAUL: He doesn't want to make it about medical marijuana, but what if New Jersey's medical marijuana contradicts the federal law? He's saying he'll send the federal government in, and he will enforce the federal law. That's not consistent with the Tenth Amendment. It is not consistent with states' rights. And it is not consistent with the conservative vision for the country.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Mandatory drug treatment, not jail, for first time dealers

NJ is the first state that says if you are non-violent, non-dealing drug user, that you don't go to jail for your first offense. You go to mandatory treatment. I think you need to be pro-life for more than just the time in the womb. It gets tougher when they get out of the womb. And when they're the 16-year-old drug addict in the Florida county lockup, that life is just as precious as the life in the womb. That's why I'm for rehabilitation, why I think the war on drugs has been a failure.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Drug addiction is a disease: treatment instead of jail

In 2012, we expanded the mandatory drug court and treatment program to more counties.9 I have a simple view on drug policy: Drug addiction is a disease. And it can be treated. Most importantly, every life is an individual gift from God and no life is disposable. We have an obligation to help people reclaim their lives. And since we have the tools to help those with this disease to save their own lives, we should use them.

We need to realize that when we keep drug addicts in jail, we ensure that they will be a constant drain on our society. Treatment not only costs us less in the short run, but in the long run it produces contributing members to our society--people who are employed and pay taxes, rather than being in jail and draining taxes. Requiring mandatory treatment instead of prison for nonviolent drug addicts is only one step--but an important one. Treatment is the path to saving lives. For as long as I am governor of New Jersey, treatment will be mandatory in our system.

Source: Brennan Center for Justice essays, p. 22 , Apr 28, 2015

Drug addiction is a disease & it can be treated

In these past two years, you've joined me in applying this principle to those who face special challenges in life, including the disease of drug addiction. In this last year, we expanded the mandatory drug court program you helped me enact into four new counties, building on those in which courts were established immediately after the law's enactment in 2013.

I have a simple view of this. Drug addiction is a disease. It can happen to anyone, from any station in life. And it can be treated.

Most importantly, every life is an individual gift from god and no life is disposable. We have an obligation to help people reclaim their lives. And if we have the tools to help those with this disease to save their own lives, we should use them.

Requiring mandatory treatment instead of prison for non-violent drug offenders is only one step--but an important one. Treatment is the path to saving lives, and for as long as I am governor, treatment will be mandatory in our system and I will not yield

Source: State of the State address to 2015 New Jersey Legislature , Jan 13, 2015

Drug courts: mandate treatment, not imprisonment

We must reach out a hand of compassion and common sense to those who commit non-violent crimes. We must do a better job of reclaiming their lives and putting them back on the road to success and engagement with society. My belief is simple: every human life is precious, and no life is disposable.

That is why I proposed last year to change our approach to non-violent drug offenders, and mandate treatment, not imprisonment. Together, we made this possible. The drug court program has been a success, thanks in part to your support in funding both the court and the treatment.

And I thank you for passage this past year of the Overdose Protection Act. We should not be prosecuting those Good Samaritans and health professionals who are trying to help in a life-threatening overdose situation.

Source: 2014 State of the State address to N.J. Legislature , Jan 14, 2014

1995: Applied 25% of county salary to drug addict residence

1995: Applied 25% of county salary to drug addict residence At the January 1995 freeholder meeting where he was sworn into political office for the first time, he wasted little time making waves, asking fellow freeholders at that first session to 1995: Applied 25% of county salary to drug addict residence The money saved by those moves was applied to treatment beds for drug-addicted county residents at Daytop Village.
Source: Rise to Power, by B. Ingle & M. Symons, p. 50 , Jun 5, 2012

Blocked implementation of medical marijuana laws

[When Christie switched publicly from pro-choice to pro-life in 2011], his critics said Christie was pandering to the right wing of his party with an eye toward garnering their support in a future campaign for national office. Some thought the same when he tossed up a series of roadblocks in the implementation of a medical marijuana law that had been signed into law by Corzine the last day before Christie took office. Christie said he worried the law could lead to problems like those experienced in California and Colorado. His administration advanced rules that limited the strength of the marijuana that can be grown and sold, and 18 months after the bill's enactment most of the 6 medical marijuana centers that are planned haven't found homes, as local residents fend off the new businesses.
Source: Rise to Power, by B. Ingle & M. Symons, p.202 , Jun 5, 2012

Drug treatment rather than non-violent offenders in prison

Let us reclaim the lives of those drug offenders who have not committed a violent crime, by investing in drug treatment--in an in-house, secure facility--rather than putting them in prison.

Treating non-violent drug offenders is 2/3 less expensive than housing them in prison. And more importantly--as long as they have not violently victimized society--everyone deserves a second chance, because no life is disposable.

I am not satisfied to have this as merely a pilot project; I call for a transformatio of the way we deal with drug abuse and incarceration. So today I ask this Legislature to join me in this commitment that no life is disposable.

I propose mandatory treatment for every non-violent offender with a drug abuse problem, not just a select few. It will send a clear message to those who have fallen victim to the disease of drug abuse--we want to help you, not throw you away. We will require you to get treatment. Your life has value. Every one of God's creations can be redeemed.

Source: N.J. 2012 State of the State Address , Jan 17, 2012

Outlaw designer drugs labeled as "bath salts"

Gov. Christie yesterday signed SCS-2829, criminalizing the manufacturing, sales, & possession of designer drugs labeled as "bath salts" in New Jersey. The bill, known as "Pamela's Law," was named in memory of a student murdered by an individual under the influence of "bath salts."

Gov. Christie noted, "By signing Pamela's Law, we are continuing to address the real world impact of these so-called 'bath salt' designer drugs. These chemicals have no valid medical use and can only cause life-threatening harm to those who ingest them."

These designer drugs, labeled as "bath salts," have been associated with intense, severe side effects that have led to suicidal thoughts and violent outbursts. They are frequently marketed as cocaine substitutes and recently had been available for purchase on the internet and in retail establishments such as smoke shops. Unlike other legitimate substances that are misused to produce a high, like glue or gasoline, these "bath salts" have no other legitimate purpose.

Source: Press release, "Banning Designer Drugs: Bath Salts" , Aug 23, 2011

Rated D+ by NORML, indicating a "hard-on-drugs" stance.

Christie scores D+ by the NORML on drug reform

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2016 NORML scores as follows:

About NORML (from their website, www.norml.org):

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law`s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.

NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.

NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession & responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called `decriminalization.`

NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as `legalization.`

NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.

NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.

Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.

Source: NORML website 16_NORML on Nov 8, 2016

Other candidates on Drugs: Chris Christie on other issues:
2024 Republican Presidential Candidates:
Ryan Binkley (R-TX)
Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND)
Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ)
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL)
Larry Elder (R-CA;withdrew)
Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC)
Rep. Will Hurd (R-FL;withdrew)
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR)
Perry Johnson (R-IL)
Mayor Steve Laffey (R-RI)
Former V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN;withdrew)
Vivek Ramaswamy (R-OH)
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Secy. Corey Stapleton (R-MT)
Mayor Francis Suarez (R-FL;withdrew)
Former Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)

2024 Democratic and 3rd-party primary candidates:
Pres. Joe Biden (D-DE)
V.P.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (I-NY)
Chase Oliver (L-GA)
Rep.Dean Phillips (D-MN)
Jill Stein (Green)
Cornel West (Green Party)
Kanye West (Birthday Party)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform

External Links about Chris Christie:

Page last updated: Feb 16, 2024; copyright 1999-2022 Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org