TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner requiring aftercare facilities, such as halfway houses and other sober living homes, to notify a patient’s next-of-kin upon the patients release under certain circumstances was approved today in committee.
S-2499 is also known as “Nick Rohdes’ Law” to honor the memory of Nick Rohdes, a young man who lost his battle with substance abuse at the age of 24 in February 2014. According to the bill, he was raised in Colts Neck, and enjoyed the shore, the Yankees and the Giants. He had been in a sober living home and was evicted without any notification to his family or next-of-kin. He would relapse and eventually lost his life to his addiction.
“This bill is intended to provide notification to family members and next-of-kin when an individual is released from these facilities to prevent tragedies and ensure a supportive environment when an addict most needs it,” said Senator Turner (D- Huntingdon and Mercer). “Nick’s situation is exactly what we are trying to prevent. Addiction is an ugly battle that can constantly lurk, which is why family and a strong support system is vital. This bill extends that care, from the time someone leaves one of these facilities to let those who serve as a support system know what the next steps are.”
S-2499 would require the Department of Human Services (DHS) to ensure that halfway houses and other residential substance abuse aftercare facilities provide notice to a patient’s spouse, parent, guardian or designated next-of-kin, upon the patient’s release from treatment at the facility. The notification would only be provided if it falls within federal law of confidentiality regarding the person’s medical records and substance abuse treatment records, and the patient, if an adult, has not withheld consent for such notice or expressly requested that notification not be provided.
The bill was released from the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee by vote of 6-0 and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.