Hard Work Pays Off: Raising Heroin Awareness in NJ

I had the honor or releasing the symbolic balloons to kick off the campaign

I had the honor or releasing 244 symbolic balloons in memory of those who died of heroin overdose in  Ocean and Monmouth counties last year, and the Daily Journal covered it.

Often times the one big message of successful recovery is “hard work pays off”. This week, and this month, and this year, that hard work has been raising awareness of the heroin epidemic in New Jersey, to prevent as much of the fallout from addiction as we can right now.

And the hard work is paying off. The stigma of heroin is starting to go away. Although there is a long way still to go, it is no longer uncommon to hear the word “heroin” in conversation  in our suburbs.

I am seeing an increased awareness of the role of prescription pain killers in our heroin epidemic as well. The “common man” in New Jersey is starting to understand that heroin is just a cheaper, more physically dangerous form of the prescription pain killers prescribed by doctors or “borrowed” from unsuspecting friends and relatives.

Treatment is Available for Opiate Addiction

The time to get treatment for addiction is when a dependency is acknowledged. If that dependency is on prescription pain killers like hydrocodone or oxycodone, Percocet, or any number of other opioids, it is no less a risk than a heroin addiction. The primary risk appears to be the switch to heroin (which is  cheaper, and more readily available). But the other, perhaps more important risk, is the tightening grip of opiate addiction.

Heroin Addiction is best Treated Early, not Late

It is easier and less “costly” in all terms, to treat an addiction earlier, rather than later, regardless of the substance.

“Stigma can be deadly. We hope that this campaign plays a role in busting that stigma and helping the public understand that addiction is a disease.” Celina Gray, Acting Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction quoted in the Daily Journal.

This past week Jersey Shore Radio's 107.1 FM Morning Show dedicated virtually an entire week to raising awareness of the heroin problem in New Jersey. Sunrise Detox spent as much time on-site with them as we could. We knew that those seeking help would need someone to talk to. Someone who could answer the real-world questions about addiction and addiction treatment. And since we do that every day, we wanted to help.

Sunrise Detox in New Jersey Malls

We helped people one-on-one at all three malls, every day of the campaign. We spoke honestly about addiction and the grip it has on otherwise smart and strong individuals. We spoke honestly about treatment, insurance, and the untold “costs” of addiction on society. And we told real-world stories that brought the message home to those who needed to hear them.

In some cases we got people directly into treatment. Sometimes at Sunrise Detox, and other times at other treatment centers. The key to successful treatment is immediate medical attention (such as at our medical detox), followed by admission to the appropriate inpatient rehab center, which is usually selected based on individual factors. At Sunrise Detox, we work with individuals and families during the initial detox stage, to understand the rehab process, and select the one that fits.

Keeping Up the Fight: More Heroin Awareness is Needed

This week New Jersey's administration (the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction) kicks off another awareness campaign – this time one funded with marketing and advertising dollars, and expected to carry through the entire summer. “Addiction does not discriminate” is a strong message that needs to be heard. Let's raise awareness amongst those who believe that heroin addiction happens to other people, before that devastating addiction pops into their lives unexpectedly, and challenges the entire family unit and more.

 

 

 

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