New Jersey is on pace to have the single most drug overdose deaths in 2018 on record. Statistics show a record-shattering pace that could reach 3,000 people in the state by the year's end.
The state's opioid crisis killed more people than "the flu, Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, homicide, suicide, and car accidents" combined in 2018.
Drug deaths in New Jersey are on pace to become the sixth-leading cause of death in the state. It is dealing with a crisis never before seen, and the answer to combat it is not so simple.
In 2017, New Jersey providers wrote 44.2 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions. This is the lowest rate in the state since data became available in 2006 (per the CDC).
A 2014 report from the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse noted a startling rise in the rate of patient admissions to drug addiction treatment centers of more than 200% over the past five years, and nearly 700% over the past decade.
Heroin and opioid admissions accounted for 49 percent of all substance abuse admissions in New Jersey in 2014, the highest in at least a decade, according to data from the State Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Overdoses of opioid prescription drugs now kill more people in the U.S. than heroin and cocaine combined. Every day, 130 Americans die from an overdose caused by prescription painkiller abuse, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sadly, there has been a steady increase in the amount of overdose deaths in New Jersey. Between 2014 and 2015, drug overdose deaths increased by nearly 22 percent, and nearly 1,600 people lost their lives to narcotics in New Jersey.
Unfortunately, in 2016, the number of individuals who died as a result of drug overdoses escalated to over 2,221, an increase of almost 40 percent from data collected in previous years.
In 2017, drug overdose deaths in New Jersey increased by nearly 14 percent, reaching an unfortunate milestone in 2018 with more than 3,000 overdoses. Two in five teenagers mistakenly believe prescription drugs are a lot safer than illegal drugs, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (the DEA).
Further, and three in ten teens mistakenly believe prescription painkillers are not addictive. This holds true for New Jersey.
In June 2011, the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation reported that a growing number of young people are abusing prescription drugs, and noted a significant trend in which the practice has led to increases, not only in the number of young people addicted to painkillers, but to the number of young people using heroin as well.
In addition to the dangers to public health and safety, the illegal use of prescription drugs costs the insurance industry up to $72.5 billion annually. These costs affect consumers through higher insurance rates and increased co-pays. New Jersey suffers great financial blows every year owing to prescription opioid abuse and its vagaries.
The abuse of prescription drugs also adds to the costs of medical care through increased emergency room visits and additional pressure on hospitals and their staff.
In the year 2017, there were more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in the U.S.-an age-adjusted rate of 21.7 per 100,000 persons. Among these, 47,600 involved opioids. The sharpest increase occurred among deaths involving Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogs (other synthetic narcotics) with more than 28,400 overdose deaths in 2017.
The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths increased significantly in New Jersey by 29.3 percent from 2016 (23.2 deaths per 100,000) to 2017 (30.0 deaths per 100,000). . While the majority of drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid, overdose deaths involving opioids are not included for the state because the data reported did not meet inclusion criteria.
NAS or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) may occur when a pregnant woman uses drugs such as opioids during pregnancy. In New Jersey, the rate of NAS/NOWS doubled from 2.5 cases per 1,000 hospital births in 2006 to 5.2 cases per 1,000 hospital births in 2013 (per the CDC).
Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 1,143 occurred in New Jersey. Among males, 9.3 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 11.9 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid abuse.
In 2015, an estimated 35,636 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in New Jersey—a rate of 473 cases per 100,000 persons. Of those, 28.6 percent of male cases were attributed to opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 31.1 percent were living with HIV attributed to opioid abuse and prescription opioid abuse.
There were approximately 122 new cases of acute HCV (1.4 per 100,000 persons) reported in New Jersey in 2016 (per the CDC). In New Jersey, there are an estimated 47,600 persons living with Hepatitis C (2013-2016 annual average), a rate of 690 cases per 100,000 persons.
Today, there are numerous centers of treatment and rehab available in New Jersey. There are many types of treatment centers such as long term addiction treatment facilities, short term drug abuse treatment, outpatient detoxification programs, outpatient substance abuse treatment services, inpatient drug abuse treatment and others.
There is a wide range of drug and alcohol rehab facilities available. They include individual psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy, couple/family therapy, trauma therapy, trauma-related counseling, cognitive/behavior therapy and others, to name a few. If you need rehab in New Jersey, all you need to do is place a call to any of the available rehab centers.
If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.
Do you need help finding the right drug or alcohol rehab facility in your area?
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