“The war on drugs has failed,” Chris Christie declared yesterday. “There will always be jail cells for violent sociopaths who may have drugs as part of their problem as well,” he continued, “but for those who do not and whose crimes are non-violent and motivated by drug addiction, we need to try to save them.”
The saving them part isn’t just rhetoric.
Last week, Christie signed a waiver making it legal for first responders to carry naloxone, a drug the AP reports “can reverse an overdose that would otherwise likely be fatal.” In the past, some conservatives might have seen such an action as a bleeding-heart liberal policy, tantamount to condoning drug use, but attitudes about addiction have changed in recent years.
Besides, Christie says this issue is personal to him. Most people won’t remember this — the governor was embattled at the time — but at the State of the State in January, Christie talked about a drug-addicted sixteen-year-old who went on to intern for Christie before becoming an attorney.
With the young man sitting in the audience, Christie said: “If you need proof that reclaiming a life is possible and that every life is precious and has value, and that no matter what condition you find that life in that life is salvageable … that proof is in this Chamber today.”
This isn’t a new issue for Christie. While prison reform and reforming mandatory minimums have become vogue (and thankfully so) of late, Christie has been championing this issue for years.
Consider this video from March of 2012, where Christie declares: “Every one of God’s creatures can be redeemed”:
For those looking for issues to unify the various wings of conservatism, it is increasingly looking like this may be it.