TRENTON, NJ - – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex) and Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) to provide a substance-free housing environment for New Jersey college students recovering from substance abuse was approved 72-0-1 Thursday by the Assembly. (Substance-free house already exists on the Piscatawy campuses of Rutgers Univeristy, as it does in several other NJ colleges.)

“College can be a precarious place for students recovering from alcohol or drug abuse,” said Pinkin. “This bill helps ensure that students who are in recovery will benefit from a supportive environment away from temptation and where they’ll have access to services tailored to their needs.”

“Staying clean can be a daily struggle. The freedom and social pressures faced by students in college can make the difficult situation of coping with substance abuse and addiction even more challenging,” said Mukherji. “This legislation will provide students the environment and supportive services needed for recovery and enable them to achieve academic success.”

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The bill (A-3719) directs each four-year public institution of higher education, in which at least 25 percent of the undergraduate students live in on-campus housing, to establish a substance abuse recovery housing program. The purpose of the program would be to provide a supportive substance-free dormitory environment that recognizes the unique risks and challenges that recovering students face. The program would provide support programs to assist their efforts to remain substance-free, including on-site counseling, mentoring, peer support, and other appropriate services. Under the bill, an institution would have four years to develop the substance abuse recovery housing program.

The bill will now be referred to the Senate.