Riley Regan - advocate for alcoholism treatment

Riley Regan, advocate for alcoholism treatment, dies at 77 | "Riley Regan was a champion and a pioneer for thousands of recovering alcoholics and drug addicts. During the 1980s, when the federal "war on drugs" helped fuel stigmas against substance abusers, Regan — a recovering alcoholic and drug addict — gave a clarion voice to addicts, advocating for treatment over incarceration. Decades later, the movement Riley fostered in New Jersey has taken hold throughout the nation. Regan, the founding director of the New Jersey Division of Alcoholism, died of liver cancer Friday in his Cranford home. He was 77. "He had the ability to reach into people and get them to connect to what he came to New Jersey for — to set up systems so wherever someone was addicted or an alcoholic presented themselves there was a hand to reach out to them," said Tom Graham, Regan’s best friend and former deputy director of the division. Known for his humility and ability to humanize those devastated by addiction, Regan was instrumental in implementing the Alcoholism Treatment and Rehabilitation Act, which decriminalized public drunkenness and established a statewide system for alcoholism treatment and prevention. "Riley was a passionate advocate for those struggling to overcome substance abuse. His monument is all those who he helped back to useful lives," said former Gov. Thomas Kean, one of four governors under whom Regan served . . . " 

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