My name is Dan Smith, Democrat running for state assembly in the 24th District. I have been a lawyer, judge and public servant in our district for my whole professional career. I am intimately familiar with law enforcement and the challenges they face.

One of those challenges continues to be opioid abuse. Just because it no longer receives banner headlines in the news doesn’t mean it has gone away. I discussed this and other issues facing law enforcement with Chief Beecher of the Mt. Olive police department just the other day. His input was extremely valuable as he is on the front lines.

Limiting the amount of opioid prescriptions healthcare professionals can write was a good first step, but it did not solve the problem. As Chief Beecher made clear, the opioid traffic has moved underground causing more problems in the battle to stem the tide of addiction.

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One program we agree can have a major impact on reducing drug addiction, and criminal behavior in general, is NJ LEEP (Law and Education Empowerment Project). NJ LEEP is a college access and success program serving students and families that empowers high school students with both the academic and social-emotional skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond.

I am in favor of increasing support for LEEP and expanding it to include pre-high school students. It’s never too early to develop positive relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve and to give students a head start on success. This is an area where our state assembly incumbents here in the 24th have shown little interest.

If elected, I will be a firm supporter of both law enforcement and our children to eradicate plagues like opioid addiction and improve the quality of life for everyone in our district. I hope you will consider giving Dan Smith your vote on November 5th.