TRENTON, NJ — A special license plate to “Support Recovery” from drug addiction would help pay the rent for individuals residing in sober living facilities, under legislation introduced by Assemblyman Sean T. Kean (R-Monmouth/Ocean).
“Special license plates have become a way to champion a cause and generate much-needed revenue. Drug addiction is an epidemic right now and a ‘Support Recovery’ license plate will demonstrate support for anyone touched by drug addiction and help to fund sober housing,” said Kean, who represents the 30th District, which includes Belmar and Lake Como.
Because many times homelessness is a barrier to recovery, the measure’s goal is to provide a way for individuals with addiction problems to receive financial assistance to live in a sober residential environment.
According to Assembly Bill A-5061, the fees collected from New Jersey drivers with the new license plate would be placed in a fund administered by the state Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The monies would be allocated to sober living facilities to be used to offset housing costs for both long-term residents, who have completed substance abuse treatment, and for individuals waiting to be placed in a treatment program who are in need of temporary sober living facilities.
The bill has been designated the P.I.C.K. (Parents in Connection for Kids) Awareness Act, because it was the brainchild of Donna DeStefano, founder and CEO of P.I.C.K., an Allenwood-based nonprofit organization that seeks to provide substance abuse treatment resources and referrals to parents of children with alcohol and drug addiction.
“P.I.C.K. Awareness believes that ‘Support Recovery’ license plates will bring a sorely needed sustainable funding model to fill the gap of recovery support services to help break the cycle of addiction,” said DeStefano, whose daughter is in recovery from drug addiction.
“We believe that everyone is relevant. We want to break the stigma of addiction, encourage the public to reach out for help, inform them, advocate for them, and reduce heroin overdoses and substance use disorders in our state,” said DeStefano, who serves on the state Governor’s Council of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and as development director for Prevention Links in Union County.
The specially created plate would consist of an image of a compass rose with cardinal direction indicators enclosed in a circle, with the words “Support Recovery” on the bottom. The plate would initially cost $50, with a $10 annual renewal fee.
The measure, which was co-sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Egan (D-Middlesex/Somerset) and has bipartisan support, has been referred to the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.