New Jersey's 10th Legislative District

Holzapfel, McGuckin & Catalano

District 10

10th District Legislators Urge Murphy to Lift Indoor Restrictions on AA and NA Meetings

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Due to Governor Murphy’s latest restrictions on indoor gatherings, recovering patients are having a difficult time seeking treatment at Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous facilities.  Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano (all R-10) are urging Governor Murphy to allow all treatment facilities to remain open at full capacity.

Senator Holzapfel and Assemblymen McGuckin and Catalano are urging Governor Murphy to exempt alcohol and narcotics treatment programs from new restrictions on indoor gatherings and allow them to continue operating at full capacity. (Pixabay)

“New Jersey has seen significant increases in fatal drug-related overdoses because of the added pressures on addicts due to COVID-19,” stated Senator Holzapfel. “It’s programs like AA and NA that keep people from returning to their harmful ways.  Without proper access to these recovery programs and the ongoing stresses associated with the virus it is more likely for addicts to use drugs and alcohol again.”

On November 17, Governor Murphy signed another Executive Order to lower the limit on indoor gatherings to 10 people.  Facilities that host in-person recovery meetings are now struggling to accommodate the increasing number of people seeking to attend meetings.

“Over the years our delegation has seen how substance abuse has plagued our communities and we understand the value in access to treatment and recovery programs,” added McGuckin.  “Patients rely on these in-person programs to connect with others who are also struggling to resist the temptations associated with drug and alcohol abuse.  Our state will end up with record numbers of fatalities related to alcohol, opioids or other drugs if something is not done to allow for easier access to recovery programs.”

According to an article on NJ Spotlight News, through July, drug related deaths were up 17 percent and they are on track to surpass last year’s numbers. With the fear of another lockdown by the Governor looming, the Legislators believe that virtual meetings and phone calls are not as effective as in-person meetings.

“Online meetings are beneficial for some but not for all patients,” said Assemblyman Catalano.  “With record numbers of people reaching out for support, facilities are struggling to provide quality services under these tight restrictions.  The Governor needs to address the indoor capacity issue for AA and NA meetings and allow these facilities to operate with social distancing and safety in mind.”

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