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 patient’s release under certain circumstances was signed into law by the Governor.
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 law, 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.
“Nick Rohdes was a young man whose life was taken much too soon by addiction, which for many is an unending battle. We have to work harder to prevent these kinds of tragedies, which is why family and a strong support system is vital,” said Senator Turner (D- Huntingdon and Mercer). “This law provides notification to family members and next-of-kin when an individual is released from aftercare facilities which can ensure a supportive environment when an addict most needs it. This will help keep families involved with what is happening with their loved one.”
S-2499 requires 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 signed into law today. It cleared the Senate 38-0 in January and passed the Assembly in December 62-0. The law takes effect in 60 days.