Over the years, we’ve seen what is happening to many communities across New Jersey. There’s no doubt that New Jersey has been suffering through a devastating drug epidemic. With addiction classified as a chronic, but treatable brain disorder, those who are addicted cannot control their need for alcohol and drugs despite negative consequences. Changes in the brain rapidly take hold, and in turn, those changes create behavior changes, including physical, mental, financial, and interpersonal consequences. New Jersey residents are not exempt from these problematic issues, and in fact, this devastating and controversial issue has recently reached epidemic proportions throughout the state of New Jersey. For those that are addicted and can’t stop using, drug treatment centers in New Jersey and out-of-state offer a solution-focused recovery approach.
For years, the drug epidemic in the state has only been getting worse. In 2016, there were 1409 opioid-related overdose deaths in New Jersey – a rate of 16 deaths per 100,000 persons – compared to the national rate of 13.3 deaths per 100,000. The largest increase occurred in heroin-related deaths from 97 deaths in 2010 to 850 deaths in 2016. Further, deaths from synthetic opioids rose from 35 to 689 deaths in the same period.
In November of 2015, the FDA moved to approve Narcan, a naloxone nasal spray solution, as a method of combating the crisis. With Narcan, a single shot is sprayed into each nasal cavity. The first responders and primary caregivers who had been using naloxone in syringes made the case that the nasal spray form was easier to deliver and cut down on the risk of using syringes. This could not have been more of a saving grace for the state at such a devastating time.
More Addicts Dying From Opioids
Currently, drug overdose deaths are currently on pace to become the sixth-leading cause of death in New Jersey in 2018. As of April, there have already been 765 suspected deaths already recorded in 2018. This means the death rate has surpassed illnesses and disease such as the flu, Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer. In addition to homicide, suicide, and car accidents combined.
“We’re on pace to far surpass the figures from 2016 and 2017,” said Gurbir Grewal, the state attorney general. “It shows we can’t be complacent.”
However, one way the state of New Jersey has tried to get more people trusting police officers who respond to a 911 call about a heroin overdose in progress is to offer immunity from arrest to the people making the call, even if they are found with heroin in their possession. The “Good Samaritan Emergency Response Act” signaled a reversal of position by Governor Chris Christie, who had initially vetoed a similar bill because it did little to offer any kind of deterrent to the larger issue of substance abuse. The result has become statewide legislation that protects people calling 911 from being arrested or prosecuted for having used drugs, which proponents say will encourage more people to go to the authorities for help and not risk overdose for fear that calling 911 will lead to criminal penalties.
Additionally, in turn, drug rehabs in New Jersey have sprung up as a catalyst to combat the opioid epidemic. Some of these facilities can include a multitude of therapies including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and individualized therapy that can help others uncover the underlying cause of their addiction as well as develop new tools to live a life free from substances. Lifelong recovery is possible.