Governor Chris Christie: The way I really thought about this over the last number of months is as a father of four children, there, but for the grace of God, go I. And drug abuse and addiction is a disease and it can happen to anyone of us from anywhere in this state. There are no exceptions. And it is not uncommon for many of us to know a family member, a friend, a neighbor, someone else close to us who has struggled with addiction. And if we have the ability to prevent a loss, to prevent an unthinkable tragedy, by providing the tools for people to help save their own lives, then I believe we should be involved. That’s why I’m proud of what we’ve done on this issue in general, proud of what we’re doing here today and proud of the work that we continue to do together to help people reclaim their lives. You’ve heard me say before that the country’s ‘War On Drugs’ has been a dismal failure. The warehousing of low-level drug offenders and the failure to treat drug abuse to end the revolving door of offenders who simply commit new, small crimes, or larger ones, to feed their addiction is just unacceptable. That’s why I’ve taken a new approach, including requiring mandatory drug treatment for all first time, non-violent offenders. And in that same vein, and with that same philosophy in mind, that’s what we’re doing here again today, and once again, in a bipartisan way. Presently, there are no immunities whatsoever offered to overdose victims or those who are violating the law while attempting to assist an overdose victim. While it’s critically important that criminal and civil immunity be granted carefully and sparingly, this reworked and expanded law fits perfectly with my philosophy that no is dispensable and that drug abuse must be treated, not simply punished. [.…] What we now have is a comprehensive law we can all be proud of for what it can achieve, the saving of a life to provide the opportunity for individuals, their families, friends and those Good Samaritans involved to reflect on their experience in a way that they probably would have never reflected upon it before. A life saved from drug abuse can be a life restored. Families can be spared the anguish of loss, a loss that could have been prevented. The action we take here today achieves these most laudable goals for individuals and for our society as a whole. I want to thank our friends here at Turning Point for all that they do and it’s truly one of the great places in New Jersey that provides extraordinary care and treatment for folks who need it. And I appreciate Manny and all the great people here who I’ve gotten to briefly meet today for helping people who really are in need of help and want to be saved. [….] I want to introduce for a few remarks a New Jersey son, someone who’s cared greatly about this issue and spoken about it to me often, Jon Bon Jovi. And then I’ll bring Patty DiRenzo to the podium as well to speak and then I’ll come back to take questions from the press. So ladies and gentlemen, Jon Bon Jovi.
Jon Bon Jovi: Thank you. I just briefly wanted to thank Governor Christie and the members of the New Jersey Legislature for reconsidering their position on this important issue, that will truly affect the lives of many across our state and also affect many of the families of those across our state. Today’s a great day and again, I want to thank you all for coming and I hope that Governor Christie’s actions here will cause other states to stand up and to pay attention and also to follow in his footsteps. So, thank you all very much.
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