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Demand Is Higher Than Available Beds for Opiate Addicts Seeking Rehab in New Jersey

Getting treatment for opiate addiction in NJ is rough. They are starting to call it winning the “addict lottery.” There are many addicts in NJ that want to go into treatment. They have reached a point in their addiction where they are fed and ready for help. They are “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” They want a change and they need it immediately, but unless you win the “addict lottery”, you will be put on a waiting list for a bed in a treatment center in New Jersey.

The demand for treatment far outweighs the amount of beds available in the state of New Jersey. According to a report released earlier this year by the "Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use by New Jersey’s Youth and Young Adults" identifies heroin and prescription opiate abuse as “the number one health care crisis” in the state. It notes a five-year increase of more than 200 percent in the number of admissions to licensed or certified treatment programs for prescription drug abuse, and a 700-percent increase over the last decade.

The state of New Jersey had 1188 fatal overdoses in 2013. These numbers are up from 449 in 2011 and 591 in 2012. At the same time, the number of people being treated in state-licensed treatment facilities has leveled off at 33,500 between 2012 and 2013, after steadily increasing since 2006.  In a 2013 report, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that out of 179,000 people in New Jersey who abused or were dependent on illicit drugs, only a quarter received treatment.

There is no concrete data on how many people are on waiting lists for beds in treatment centers in NJ but the need is paramount. You have addicts that will do anything they can to get help, but are turned away because of the lack of beds. Nothing in the world is more detrimental or frustrating to someone's recovery than to be turned away and told they can't receive help. Many addict's are extremely vulnerable and the first sign of denial will turn back to their drug of choice for comfort because that is the only thing they know. That is why treatment is so important for addicts. Professional treatment helps to break the lifestyle they are used to, and help them to remain clean and focused.

The scariest thing about this issue is that our state government has no idea how they are going to fix the problem. Although the state of New Jersey has high taxes, government officials are not sure how they will be able to fix the problem due to lack of funds for the crisis. Without more state run treatment centers, this issue will continue to grow. Of course people can go to a private treatment center, but the majority of addicts do not have insurance and can not afford tens of thousands of dollars for their treatment. I do not have the answer for the state but I really hope they work some magic and figure out a way to provide more treatment options for their citizens.


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