Senate resolution no. 31 State of new jersey 217th legislature



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SENATE RESOLUTION No. 31



STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED FEBRUARY 16, 2016








Senator JEFF VAN DREW

District 1 (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland)

SYNOPSIS

Establishes South Jersey Task Force on Heroin.


CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

As introduced.



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A Senate Resolution establishing the South Jersey Task Force on Heroin.
Whereas, The State Commission of Investigation (SCI), in its July 2013 report entitled “Scenes from an Epidemic: A Report on the SCI’s Investigation of Prescription Pill and Heroin Abuse,” found that the “. . . challenges posed by drug abuse have taken on disturbing dimensions that call into question the conventional wisdom regarding gateway drugs and addiction, as well as the adequacy of current oversight and enforcement strategies. We now live in a state where abuse of prescription pills serves increasingly as a primary route to the unlawful world of heroin . . . ”; and

Whereas, In some New Jersey counties, heroin abuse was a major factor in a steep increase in drug abuse cases over the past year, with the number of overdoses doubling from 2012 to 2013 in Ocean County; and

Whereas, Between January 1, 2014 and March 24, 2014, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office and local municipalities in the county have responded to and investigated 23 overdoses believed to be directly related to the illegal use of heroin and other controlled dangerous substances, and drug paraphernalia was located at the scenes of investigation and tested positive for a deadly combination of heroin cut with an unregulated amount of fentanyl, which when ingested can lead to serious health issues and often times death; and

Whereas, In August 2013, 98 drug-related arrests were made and thousands of bags of heroin were seized by the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office in Wildwood, a city in Cape May County with a great deal of summer visitors; and

Whereas, The SCI report also emphasized that the use of heroin was not limited to inner-cities, citing investigations during which law enforcement officials in rural areas made arrests for possession or distribution of heroin, and demonstrated that, however affluent or remote, no community is immune to the circumstances and impact of heroin drug abuse; and

Whereas, In 2011, five funerals were held over the span of six weeks in the small Camden County community of Gloucester City, all for individuals in their 20s and 30s, all victims of what police described as a bad batch of heroin; and

Whereas, The proliferation of heroin has required law enforcement to devote increasing resources to the cause; and

Whereas, It is appropriate to establish a “South Jersey Task Force on Heroin,” to be chaired by a member of the Senate, to focus exclusively on the heroin problems plaguing the citizenry, and in southern New Jersey in particular, in order to make recommendations to combat this epidemic; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of New Jersey:

1. The “South Jersey Task Force on Heroin” is hereby established. The purpose of the task force is to study State law and current trends and policies concerning heroin and drug abuse and addiction, including identifying the causes of heroin abuse and addiction, the need for treatment centers in the State, alternative treatment options, and evaluating the treatment programs in other States. The task force also shall make recommendations for legislation and strategies to create more effective policies and enforceable penalties.


2. a. The South Jersey Task Force on Heroin shall consist of 11 members, as follows:

(1) the Commissioner of Health, or the commissioner’s designee, to serve ex officio;

(2) the Commissioner of Human Services, or the commissioner’s designee, to serve ex officio;

(3) the Commissioner of Corrections, or the commissioner’s designee, to serve ex officio;

(4) the Attorney General, or the Attorney General’s designee, to serve ex officio;

(5) two members of the Senate, each of a different political party, who shall be appointed by the Senate President; and

(6) five public members who shall be appointed by the Senate President. The Senate President shall appoint at least one elected official from any level of government outside of the Senate of the State of New Jersey. The Senate President shall appoint at least one member from a southern county in New Jersey.

b. The public members shall include experienced heroin abuse and addiction treatment professionals and academics and interested laypersons, including a self-advocate.

c. The chair of the task force, and the vice-chair, shall be the two members of the Senate, as determined by the task force membership.

d. Vacancies in the membership of the task force shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointments.

e. The task force shall organize as soon as practicable and after the appointment of a majority of its members.

f. The task force may meet and hold hearings at such places as it shall designate during the sessions or recesses of the Legislature.

g. The task force may solicit, receive, disburse, and monitor grants and other funds made available from any governmental, public, private, not for profit, or for profit agency, including funds made available under any federal or State law, regulation, or program.
3. The New Jersey Office of Legislative Services shall provide professional and clerical staff to the task force as necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act. The task force shall be entitled to call upon the services of any State, county, or municipal department, board, commission, or agency, as may be available to it for these purposes. The task force may consult with associations, organizations, educational and academic institutions, and individuals knowledgeable about heroin and drug issues.
4. The task force shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), to the Legislature no later than 18 months after the organization of the task force, and shall expire 60 days after submission of the report.

STATEMENT


This bill establishes the South Jersey Task Force on Heroin. The purpose of the task force is to study State law and current trends and policies concerning heroin and drug abuse and addiction, including identifying the causes of heroin abuse and addiction, evaluating the need for treatment centers in the State, researching alternative treatment options, and evaluating the treatment programs in other States. The task force would make recommendations for legislation and strategies to create more effective policies and enforceable penalties. The task force is required to submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature no later than 18 months after its organization.

The South Jersey Task Force on Heroin would consist of 11 members, as follows: the Commissioner of Health, the Commissioner of Human Services, the Commissioner of Corrections, and the Attorney General, or their designees, to serve ex officio; two members of the Senate, each of a different political party and appointed by the Senate President, and five public members appointed by the Senate President. The Senate President would appoint at least one elected official from any level of government outside of the Senate, and at least one member from a southern county in New Jersey. The chair of the task force, and the vice-chair, would be the two members of the Senate.



The task force is to organize as soon as practicable and after the appointment of a majority of its members. The New Jersey Office of Legislative Services would provide professional and clerical staff; however, the task force would also be entitled to call upon the services of any State, county, or municipal department, board, commission, or agency, as may be available to it for these purposes, and may consult with associations, organizations, educational and academic institutions, and other knowledgeable individuals.


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