Addiction in New Jersey

Addiction is a worldwide problem and sometimes it hits harder when the problem is close to home. Addiction is no stranger to New Jersey residents.According to research, New Jersey has more than 650,000 marijuana users, 250,000 prescription medication abusers, and more than 130,000 users of cocaine.

In this article we’re going to explore some of the ways that addiction affects New Jersey and its residents.

What Is Addiction? Basic Outline of Addiction

Addiction is something that is discussed quite often. Despite this, not many people understand how addiction truly works. This section will explore different types of addiction and how they can affect you physically and mentally.

Addiction can roughly be separated into two categories, psychological and physical addiction. These two types of addiction can occur alongside one another, however, this is not always the case.

A psychological addiction doesn’t necessarily require a physical addiction. Someone can be psychologically addicted to a substance that they don’t even use very often.

For example, someone who believes that they need alcohol in order to attend a social function would be considered psychologically addicted. This would still be the case even if they only attended social functions twice a month, and thus only drank twice a month.

Physical addiction, on the other hand, is very different. When someone is physically addicted to a drug, that means that their body has actually become dependent on it. They cannot function the same without it.

If someone is physically dependent on a drug and they try to stop using it, they will most likely experience withdrawal symptoms. These are a collection of physical and mental symptoms that occur when the body struggles to operate without the drugs that it’s become addicted to.

Physical addiction is also accompanied by tolerance. This is a process by which your body gradually requires more and more of a drug in order to feel the same effects. As you become more tolerant to a drug, you can be sure that your body is becoming more dependent on it.

Both types of addiction can be treated in a rehab center. There is almost always a psychological component to every physical addiction. 

However, the treatment for a physical addiction often requires additional resources. Many recovering users find that a detox phase can be useful for helping them overcome some of the most difficult withdrawal symptoms.

This is especially true for people who are addicted to drugs like opioids or GABAergic drugs (including alcohol or anti-anxiety medications). These drugs can produce very serious withdrawal symptoms, and people who have abused GABAergics for years may be prone to having fatal seizures.

Common drugs of addiction in New Jersey

These are some of the most popular drugs of abuse in New Jersey.


Despite being legal, alcohol is one of the most dangerous and frequently abused drugs on the market.

Alcohol is known to drastically change a person’s behavior. Issues like aggression and violence are far more common among people who are under the influence of alcohol.

Alcohol is also one of the most physically addictive drugs on the planet. Alcohol affects a certain set of neurotransmitters in the brain called GABA. When you become seriously dependent on a drug like alcohol, the resulting withdrawal can cause fatal seizures.


Opiates are another common drug of abuse. Many people are surprised to learn that a large number of opiate abusers were actually prescribed these drugs through the medical system.

Regardless of where they are obtained, opiates are among the most physically addictive drugs. Tolerance develops quickly to opiates, and many people find it easy to chase the high while losing sight of their discipline.

It is not uncommon for people who were prescribed opiates by the doctor to struggle to cope with the withdrawal symptoms. When this happens, they may end up seeking opiates illegally on the street. Many people have ended up homeless because of what seemed, at first, to be a fairly innocent prescription.

Stronger opiates than ever before have made their way to the streets. Many people who were originally addicted to drugs like heroin are now addicted to fentanyl, an opioid significantly stronger than heroin. Much of the supply of illegal heroin has been replaced by synthetic fentanyl, which is causing a large number of overdoses.

In New Jersey, according to a report, nearly 90% of all overdoses in 2018 were caused by opioids.


Cocaine is another popular drug of abuse in New Jersey. 

Cocaine is a short-acting stimulant that releases a large amount of dopamine in the brain. When this happens, people often seem euphoric, hyperactive, and extremely talkative. However, when cocaine wears off, people often experience the opposite: they become lethargic, unmotivated, and emotionally unstable.

These unpleasant feelings have led to cocaine becoming easily abused. Many cocaine users find that they compulsively redose in order to avoid the unwanted feelings associated with the comedown.

Unfortunately, this can easily spiral out of control. On top of this, cocaine is expensive when compared to other drugs. This means that cocaine addicts are more liable to develop financial issues. 

With that said, cocaine is also one of the most popular drugs used among the wealthy and business-class populations.

Cocaine can also be cooked down into crack, a much more potent version of the substance. Crack is even shorter acting, produces more profound effects, and leads to a much harsher comedown. According to, crack cocaine presented the largest threat in New Jersey at the turn of the century.

While focus may have been shifted to opioids due to the increasing rate of overdoses, that does not make crack cocaine any less dangerous.


Amphetamines are another class of stimulant drugs that release large amounts of dopamine. However, amphetamines are different from cocaine. For one, they tend to last much longer. A single dose of methamphetamine can keep someone awake for several days.

Much like cocaine, amphetamine can produce powerful feelings of euphoria as well as a powerful comedown. The comedowns tend to last much longer. On top of this, amphetamines tend to cause sleep deprivation by keeping users awake for days on end.

Sleep deprivation can cause psychosis, delusions, and mental instability. When combined with the intoxicating and unstable nature of amphetamine abuse, this can create problems.

According to an evaluation of workplace drug tests, amphetamine use in New Jersey has increased in the last few years as opioid use has decreased. However, considering that this survey only evaluates people who are working regular jobs, it may not paint an accurate picture of New Jersey as a whole.

Treating Addiction in New Jersey

There are a number of ways that you can work through addiction. The most important and successful method that one can use to overcome addiction is rehab treatment.

There are different forms of rehab, but they generally consist of therapy, group meetings, and counselling. The purpose of rehab is to help people develop the skills that they need to enjoy their lives without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Rehab can roughly be separated into two categories: outpatient rehab and inpatient rehab. Different people may require different services, so these two programs can cater to those with different needs.

Outpatient Rehab in New Jersey

Outpatient rehab is a service that is designed to cater towards people with mild-to-moderate addictions. 

As an outpatient, you won’t have to actually stay at the facility beyond attending your meetings and counselling sessions. This means that you are free to live your life outside the facility. You’ll be able to maintain relationships with friends and family and you won’t have to take a significant amount of time off work.

While there are a number of benefits to this, there are also some obvious drawbacks. There will be nothing but your own willpower and determination preventing you from relapsing while you’re away from the facility.

This requires a lot of discipline. Outpatient rehab is a good idea if you are truly committed to your recovery. However, if you have doubts about your ability to stay sober while you’re away from the rehab center, you may want to consider attending inpatient rehab.

Inpatient Rehab in New Jersey

Inpatient rehab is a bit of a different story than outpatient rehab. First off, it’s quite a bit more intensive. Once you start the program, you’re going to be living at the facility until the program is done. Unless there’s an emergency, you’ll be focused on your recovery for the entire duration.

Inpatient rehab is generally for people who have very serious addictions, people who worry that they would relapse if they attended outpatient, or people who have tried and failed to find success through an outpatient program.

Just like outpatient rehab, there are a number of benefits and drawbacks to this system.

The first and most obvious benefit is that you’ll have more time to focus on your recovery. In fact, you won’t really have time for anything else. Each morning you’ll wake up in preparation for building a recovery-friendly lifestyle. Your meetings and sessions will teach you the skills to do that. And, in your free time, you will be learning how to build relationships with sober people or engage in hobbies without the use of drugs.

The drawbacks can be quite limiting, however. Inpatient rehab is generally at least a month long and may last for several months. This means that you are going to have to find a way to take a leave of absence from work or school.

Personal relationships can also suffer during this time. It’s important to plan beforehand if you’re thinking about attending an inpatient program.

What to Expect at Rehab in New Jersey

Although each rehab program is unique in its own way, it can be useful to have an outline of what to expect if you choose to attend rehab. This section will give you some ideas of what sort of treatments are offered.


Therapy and counseling are generally understood to be the backbone of therapy. 

It is during these sessions that you will actually learn the skills and techniques that you need to return to life sober. 

Your therapy and counselling sessions will vary depending on the type of treatment you need. You will likely be matched with an appropriate therapist during an intake session before you actually begin your rehab process.

This allows you to make sure that you’re matched with a therapist who specializes in your needs. For example, if your addiction results from depression, then you would want a therapist who specializes in depression as well as addiction. That way you can not only tackle your addiction but the underlying problems that led to it in the first place.

Other than this, your therapist will help you understand your emotions, your behaviors, and your thoughts. You will get a chance to learn what sort of distorted thoughts or unhealthy behavior patterns are causing you to seek out substances. Once you acknowledge these challenging behaviors and beliefs, you can begin to change them. In doing this, you can begin to break apart your addiction.

Group Meetings

Another common component of rehab facilities are group meetings.

Group meetings may be led by a therapist or a facilitator, or they may just involve a number of people in recovery. When a therapist or facilitator is present, they may direct the group conversation towards a particular topic or idea.

The purpose of group meetings is manyfold. Here, you will be able to connect with other people who are struggling with addictions or working on their recovery. This will allow you to realize that you’re not alone in this process, and that there are many others who are trying the same thing.

You will also be able to share your experiences with other people. In addition, they will be able to share experiences and advice with you. This means that you may be able to pick up some anecdotal evidence or advice that you wouldn’t otherwise get from a therapist.


Aftercare is a term used to describe any sort of follow-up treatment that you may receive after you’ve completed your rehab program. Once you’ve completed rehab and you’re released into the world, the challenge of recovery really begins.

These are some examples of aftercare programs that may help you improve your success.

  • A recovery home. There are a number of recovery homes in New Jersey. These are homes designed to house people who have recently entered recovery. The purpose of these homes is to allow you to build new connections with people who share a similar goal in life: remaining sober. 
  • Check-ups with a therapist. Some rehab centers allow you to continue meeting with your therapist after you have completed the program. If this isn’t the case then it’s still worth your time to sign up with another therapist or counselor. They will help you keep track of your progress and ensure that you stay motivated.
  • A good support group. One of the most important things that you’ll need to do is develop a strong support group. This might mean finding new, sober friends, attending group activities, or continuing to attend group meetings. In either case, make sure that you find people who are supportive of your recovery. 


Addiction is no stranger to New Jersey, but fortunately, neither is rehab. There are lots of options for addiction treatment in New Jersey, so if you or a loved one are in need of help, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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