The Toll of Addiction in NJ
New Jersey is known for its miles of toll roads, dense urban population centers, and Atlantic City. But one of the major problems facing people living in the state is the ongoing and increasing prevalence of drug and alcohol addiction. We'd like to share statistics, hotlines and resources to help New Jersey combat its substance abuse problems.
Types of Drugs Abused
- Heroin: The number one most abused drug for which treatment was sought, with 24,059 admissions, which translates to 41 percent of all surveyed admissions.
- Alcohol: In second place with 15,673 admissions, alcohol addiction represents 27 percent of the survey sample.
- Marijuana: According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the country. The survey revealed that 9,372 individuals were admitted for treatment related to this drug, which represents 16 percent of the survey pool.
- Opiates other than heroin: Such drugs include morphine and prescription pain relievers (more officially referred to as opioid medications) like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. There were 4,954 admissions for help with abuse of opiates and opioids, which reflects 8 percent of total admissions at rehabs that participated in the survey.
- Cocaine: There were 3,317 treatment admissions for recovery from this stimulant drug, which represents 6 percent of all admissions factored into the survey.
- Unclassified: There were 1,848 admissions that were classified as “other drugs,” which could include inhalants (e.g., over-the-counter consumer cleaning products like furniture polish that can be “huffed”), designer drugs (e.g., ecstasy), and synthetic drugs (e.g., synthetic cannabinoids).
Sex, Age, Race, and Financial Status
- Males: More males enter recovery than females. There were 44,292 male admissions, which reflects 68 percent of the population sampled.
- Females: The sample included 21,246 females admitted for drug treatment admissions, which reflects 32 percent of the population reviewed.
- Age at admission: No one age group dominated by a wide stretch, although there was a considerable difference between the most and least represented age group (20 percent versus 3 percent). The most represented age group was the 35-44 age group (12,932, which equals 20 percent of all surveyed admissions), with the rest as follows from most to least: 25-29 years of age (12,614/19 percent), 45-54 years of age (10,872/17 percent), 30-34 years of age (10,245/16 percent), 22-24 years of age (7,707/12 percent), 18-21 years of age (5,481/8 percent), 55 and over age group (4,035/6 percent), and under 18 (1,658/3 percent).
- Race: A greater number of Caucasians entered treatment than any other racial group. Of all the admitted individuals, 39,884 (61 percent) self-represented as white, 14,729 (22 percent) as black, 9,965 (15 percent) as Hispanic, and 975 (1 percent) did not specify a race.
- Financial status: About 84 percent of individuals, or 47,063 people, who were admitted for treatment had income at 0-133 percent of the federal poverty income level.
People who are navigating the drug recovery process for the first time, either for themselves or a loved one, will naturally want to learn more about drug treatment settings and programs. In terms of a setting, various levels of recovery services (from moderate to intensive) can be provided in drug rehab centers (private or public), hospitals, detox centers (private or public), clinics, doctors‘ offices, halfway houses, or community service settings. The level of program needed may drive the type of setting that is required (for example, a person with a history of long-term heroin abuse may require at least a 90-day residential treatment program).
The survey found 63 percent of all treatment admissions, or 41,065, were in-county (i.e., the admitted person resided in the county). This statistic illuminates that the majority of people in New Jersey who seek help for drug treatment choose a local facility. Although a local rehab service provider may be an optimal selection, or a necessary one given the circumstances, it could be that at least some individuals who select a local program do not have adequate information about their statewide or out-of-state options. Self-educating about the drug treatment recovery process and the various options available — as long as it does not unduly delay entering treatment — is an important part of the overall process.
Per the survey, the following are some of the recovery program types available in New Jersey:
- Outpatient care (intensive or non-intensive)
- Residential (short-term or long-term)
- Partial hospitalization
- Hospital-based residential
- Opioid maintenance (e.g., methadone treatment or Suboxone refill at a doctor’s office)
- Detox programs (residential or outpatient)
- Extended care
- Nontraditional programs
Community Resources & Rehab Programs in NJ
The following is a short selection of addiction treatment-related resources available in New Jersey:
- New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services: This resource provides contact information for different hotlines, hosts a searchable directory of in-state addiction treatment programs, and publishes information on how to find relevant help.
- Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen: This nonprofit provides counseling, referral services, and support for basic survival needs.
- A Change for Nick: This nonprofit is dedicated to helping individuals and families affected by heroin use. Services include providing a sponsor to a person seeking recovery, a scholarship fund for recovering people who want to go to college or a trade school, and community education on the devastating impact of heroin.
- Mental Health Association in New Jersey, Inc.: This organization runs at least three self-help centers where individuals can go and get help with planning their drug recovery process.
- Family Based Services Association of New Jersey: This group provides support for families affected by a range of hardships, including substance abuse. For example, this organization can help a parent who needs guidance and support on what to do in the face of a child’s drug abuse.
- NAMI New Jersey: This is a nonprofit organization with a mission to help individuals and families who are affected by mental health disorders.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Dial 800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK)
- Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 800-273-8255, option 1
- 24/7 Crisis Text Line: Text NJ to 741741
The drug problem in New Jersey illuminates different facets of the drug program across the US. On the one hand, there is government funding and many private facilities available to help. On the other hand, the need for treatment outweighs these resources. At the same time, resources must continue to be dedicated to prevention services.
In short, drug use is a complex and multilayered individual and societal problem. Support is, and must continue to be, provided by government agencies, nonprofits, and community-based organizations. For those in need of treatment services, it is critical to learn about the resources available and effectively engage them. Treatment services are available, and recovery is always possible.
A History of Alcohol & Drugs
Finding Alcohol & Drug Rehab Centers in NJ
There does not appear to be any available data on the exact number of drug treatment programs and facilities in New Jersey. However, the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) provides the public with an Addiction Services Treatment Directory. Only licensed facilities are listed in the directory, which covers all 21 counties in New Jersey.
To revisit an earlier point, the three counties with the highest rate of heroin abuse, and therefore a considerable need for treatment resources, are Atlantic, Camden, and Cape May. A review of the directory for each of these counties reveals that there are numerous treatment programs that have different funding streams or special initiatives.
Examples of such funding streams and initiatives, which help to cover the cost of rehab for individuals with limited income and assets, are as follows:
A review of these counties and others shows that for individuals who do not experience a financial hardship, the following are some of the payment options or accepted forms of payments that are available (depending on the specific treatment plan):
Although there is federal, state, and local funding for treatment programs, according to The Record, many New Jerseyans cannot get into a treatment program. In 2013, The Record reported that at least 33 percent of New Jersey residents who were experiencing substance abuse sought treatment but could not gain admission to a rehab center. The reasons cited were a shortage of treatment centers, perception of high costs for rehab programs, and challenges presented by insurance companies. According to a 2009 study, at least 30,000 New Jersey adults and 15,000 New Jersey adolescents who sought drug treatment were not able to get it at a specialized facility. It is important to note that the gap between the number in need of drug treatment and admissions to rehab facilities does not owe in all cases to financial hardship.
The Record provides stories from different families in the middle- to upper-income levels. These families have noted that sometimes a bed is not available the moment it is needed. One reality of recovery is that it is important to get a person into treatment when they are ready to go, which can be last minute, but there may not be a bed immediately available at a treatment facility.
Another reality is that relapse is a part of recovery. Some individuals and their families have spent tens of thousands of dollars on rehab programs. These individuals may not be eligible for federal, state, or locally funded programs, which means that paying for these rehab programs may continually rely on savings or private health insurance (which may not cover all services needed). In many instances, individuals or families have gone into debt to pay for rehab. However, the most advisable course of action to take when individuals become addicted to drugs is to have them admitted to a comprehensive addiction treatment program. Oftentimes, staff members can help prospective clients work out payment specifics prior to enrollment.
Substance Abuse Help
Finding treatment for addiction can save your life or the life of someone you love. But, often, the process of getting started is overwhelming enough to stop the most well-intentioned person. We're here to help guide you through the process with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about treatment.
What about Medicaid or Medicare?
Please refer to our NJ State Medicare & Medicaid guide.
Local Events & Education
New England & Mid-Atlantic Addiction Guide
Northeast Addiction Treatment Resources
- Northeast Treatment Guide
- New Jersey
- New York
- Washington, D.C.