Substance Abuse in New Jersey – Drug and Alcohol Trends
Substance abuse has been a U.S. epidemic ever since the country was founded, although certain substances were more popular or readily available at various times. Currently, substance abuse kills at least 570,000 Americans every year. Over 30,000 of those deaths are from alcohol alone, leaving hundreds of thousands more vulnerable to drugs, or a combination of alcohol and other illicit substances. Addicts who survive consistent substance abuse often lose their health, jobs, relationships, and financial security.
Treating addiction is a complex process, one every state endeavors to execute correctly. There is no catchall solution for substance abuse, but educating yourself about your state’s needs, as well as options outside your state, can help you do your part to eradicate the epidemic.
New Jersey is no exception to the need for substance abuse solutions. According to New Jersey recovery centers, state residents struggle with a plethora of drugs, including alcohol and other stimulants, prescription drugs, methamphetamines, and synthetic drugs. As is the case across the country, teens and young adults are usually the most vulnerable. According to Summit Behavioral Health of New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs are the substances teens most commonly abuse in the treatment area. Usually, teens in New Jersey and surrounding states begin drinking by the time they are 15, if not before. Similarly, New Jersey’s teen marijuana use has tripled in recent years, while prescription drug abuse continues to grow.
The most recent reports from the New Jersey Department of Human Services show Ocean and Monmouth are the top two counties for substance abuse. Closely behind them fall Essex, Camden, and Middlesex Counties. In each of the five, residents reporting substance abuse and addiction number far upwards of 4000-6000. Alcohol is the primarily abused substance, followed closely by heroin and opiates, cocaine, and marijuana. Throughout New Jersey, thousands of addicts entered treatment as first-time clients during 2015. Most of them sought treatment for alcoholism and addiction to heroin or crack cocaine. According to the most current data, most treatment seekers were between ages 18-24.
While many New Jersey municipalities prohibit alcohol sales, New Jersey itself has no dry counties. Additionally, New Jersey’s dry municipalities, like other dry towns across the country, do not prohibit alcohol consumption. They do prohibit “bring your own beer” permits for restaurants and social organizations, but it is not uncommon for New Jersey businesses to host beer and wine tastings. Dry municipalities do not oversee alcohol production licenses, which are issued courtesy of the state. This makes alcohol far more accessible, even to adolescents considered underage to attend beer and wine tastings.
In New Jersey, the percentage of deaths attributed to alcoholism is higher than the national average. Among all ages, it is 3.3%, compared to a national average of 1.8%. Among people 21-34, however, the alcoholism death rate is nearly double the national average – 6.7% vs. 4.6%. Among New Jersey adults, 1.5% admit to consistently driving after drinking too much, and according to recent data, males are more than twice as likely as females to die from alcohol-related causes. These statistics continue to be high despite several ignition interlocks and sobriety checkpoints.
Some New Jersey residents choose heroin or opiates as their preferred substances. According to a 2016 news report, the numbers associated with heroin addiction in the state are “terrifying.” In the past couple of years, heroin has slowly and insidiously made its way from large cities to the suburbs, and at least 781 heroin overdose deaths have occurred in New Jersey during the past 3 years. The per capita rate of heroin-related deaths per 100,000 New Jersey residents is more than triple the national average. Heroin causes more New Jersey deaths than homicide, suicide, car accidents, and AIDS combined. Nearly half of New Jersey residents with drug addictions entered treatment for heroin use.
Shortfalls of New Jersey Substance Abuse Care
Along with much of the U.S., New Jersey suffers a combined heroin and opiate abuse epidemic. Law enforcement agencies and treatment providers struggle to track related numbers because these are so often mixed together. Heroin addicts often start out using prescription medication for legitimate reasons, such as chronic pain and become addicted when doctors over-prescribe their meds or they engage in doctor shopping. New Jersey does have a prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP), but data collection is not always reliable. At times, pharmacists, physicians, and other health professionals don’t receive or understand the training they need to prevent heroin and prescription drug abuse.
People addicted to one drug, especially heroin, often go on to develop new addictions. This is certainly the case in New Jersey, where 18% of high school age heroin users have also used cocaine, ecstasy, hallucinogens, or meth. Among high school students, cocaine and heroin are often injected, leaving users vulnerable to STDs, HIV, and AIDS spread by shared or dirty needles. Unfortunately, most treatment centers are not designed to deal with multiple addictions or addiction-borne diseases, so addicts receive incomplete treatment.
Health Awaits in Florida at the Treatment Center
The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches, LLC, is a great choice for New Jersey residents seeking complete addiction recovery. Our team is well-versed in dealing with multiple addictions and helping you figure out how each addiction feeds the next one. We take a complete history before beginning our work because the more we know, the better your recovery experience will be.
Florida has long been a centralized location for drug and alcohol abuse. Our shipping ports, especially our largest one in Miami, are frequent drop-off points for drug caches. Despite this, we are known as The Recovery State. Our experts have carefully studied alcohol, a plethora of drug types, and what addiction looks like for each substance. Often, they can recognize addiction signs far before any other treatment center’s staff. Whether your substance of choice is common to New Jersey or not, we can help you live life without it.
Come to the Treatment Center
Drug addiction is highly stressful in itself. Preparation and long hours of travel only add to the stress, cravings, and substance abuse. The Treatment Center understands this, which is why we treat our clients with the utmost care and compassion. At The Treatment Center, you are a valuable guest because you stepped far out of your comfort zone for help. If you or a loved one living in New Jersey struggles with addiction, contact us now.