Addiction

2016 New York State Record for Overdose Deaths

NY witnessed a new record for overdose deaths, exceeding 1,000 in 2016.

New York closed 2016 with a new record: over 1,000 heroin overdose deaths. This continues an upward trend noted years ago, which has continued to challenge New York residents and their families, as well as policy makers and health care providers.

In June of 2016, New York State issued a report showing 2014 data on heroin abuse and drug overdose deaths. As of 2014, New York was outpacing other states in the growth of heroin use and the number of people seeking treatment for addiction disorders involving heroin.

In 2014, heroin overdose was a contributing cause for 825 deaths.

The 2016 numbers are in and things look much worse. Over 1000 deaths from heroin overdose in 2016, an increase of 17.5 % from 2004 numbers.

While New York had been leading the nation in growth of heroin overdoses for many years, it did not lead in heroin overdose deaths nor prescription opioid overdoses (those attributed to prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other opiate-like synthetic opioids).

In one year (2014) heroin use in New York exceeded the national average rate by 50 per cent!

Upward trends in drug abuse are difficult to stop. New York State agencies are scrambling to provide treatment options, considering expanding the existing Pilgrim State psychiatric facility on Long Island.

Suffolk County, Long Island Drug Addiction and Treatment

Suffolk County on Long Island had the highest death toll from heroin overdose, at 111 dead. That's more deaths from overdose in Suffolk County than the the Bronx and Brooklyn combined.

Suffolk also experience an additional 96 deaths attributed to opioid overdose (non-heroin, which includes prescription pain killers).

 

What are your thoughts about addicts in AA instead of NA?

There is absolutely no reason why addicts shouldn’t attend AA meetings.  However, AA has traditions that are important to the fellowship and to many of the members.  One of those is that they generally confine their discussions to alcoholism and recovery from alcoholism.

Disregarding the fact that alcoholism is an addiction like any other, and disregarding the “a drug is a drug is a drug” of NA, keeping drugs out of the conversation is the custom at the majority of AA meetings.  Everyone attending — cross-addicted people like me, and people not addicted to alcohol at all — should follow that custom in most cases.  It’s simply good manners.

There are, however, situations where a person is in crisis, and simply needs a meeting of whatever kind.  In that case it is perfectly proper — hell, it’s a life-threatening emergency — to say whatever we need to say in order to get whatever kind of support we need.  What I would do in that situation is simple.  I’d raise my hand and say “I’m not an alcoholic, but I really, really need help because I’m about to use.  Will someone come outside and talk to me about it?”  I would probably be invited to stay and say what I need to say, and if not I’d have a horde of people headed for the door with me.

Really, the substance has nothing to do with it.  What matters are the emotions, the behaviors and the solutions.  Those are the same for all addictions, and anyone should be able to talk about them in any meeting without ever mentioning alcohol or any other drug.

Life After Narcan

Everyone living in New Jersey these days is aware of the ongoing heroin epidemic. It is impossible to escape the daily news of overdoses, deaths, and crises related to drug use and heroin in our communities, sprinkled with occasional news of actions taken to address the problem.

More Addiction Treatment in New Jersey

Sunrise Detox opened 2 new full-sized treatment centers in New Jersey to help address this epidemic. With medical detox centers in Stirling (Long Hill), Toms River (Ocean County) and Cherry Hill, Sunrise Detox manages 79 beds in New Jersey, helping over ten thousand people per year get needed addiction treatment.

Increasing use of Naloxone (Narcan)

Many New Jersey municipalities were overrun with urgent demands for emergency services related to heroin overdose. They have increased use of naloxone, commonly known as Narcan.

Naloxone is a drug which reverses the effect of narcotic pain killers and heroin. It can save a life if administered in time. While naloxone has been available to emergency medical staff and physicians for over 30 years, until recently it was very tightly regulated under the law. It was not available over the counter, and was illegal to possess by anyone other than those supervised by a physician.

In 2013 the NJ Overdose Protection Act (S2082) was passed to allow even citizen first responders to administer naloxone in an emergency. In 2014 Sunrise Detox worked closely with the Ocean County Prosecutor to bring a Narcan pilot program into Ocean and Monmouth counties, greatly increasing availability of naloxone in those counties.

The pilot was a great success. Over 200 overdose reversals were recorded in the first 7 months in just those two counties.

Naloxone availability has since expanded throughout the state, driven by the need to respond to thousands of overdoses. But a significant problem remains : people continue to die.

Narcan is an emergency response tool, but not an answer to heroin addiction. Overdosing addicts saved by emergency use of Narcan are still dying after they return to their lives, often just days after being saved.

They need addiction treatment.

Life After Narcan — Understanding Addiction

Sunrise Detox collaborated with the Narcan pilot program to provide expertise and professional addiction education to the entire team, and by dedicating treatment center beds to the program for those saved by Narcan.

Sunrise Detox representatives worked closely with the entire team while the pilot program provided medical detox and addiction treatment to those saved by administration of naloxone, at several facilities serving Ocean and Monmouth counties.

Narcan is a great way to prevent an overdose death, but effective addiction treatment is the only way to save the lives lost to addiction, including the deaths from overdose that cannot be saved by naloxone.

If there is to be Life After Narcan, that life must include addiction treatment. It is essential to get individuals into a treatment program immediately, at the moment they are willing to accept help, and before withdrawal sickness drives them to resume using drugs.

Understanding Addiction Treatment

After treating over 70,000 individuals and their families in New Jersey, Atlanta, and Florida, we have learned that a respectful, comfortable medical detox under the care of an experienced addiction treatment team is the absolute best start to a successful recovery. We now want to help all New Jersey stakeholders understand what that entails, and how to best prepare for success addressing the addiction epidemic hurting our communities, beyond the improved emergency response.

Please watch the websites for Sunrise Detox in Stirling/Long Hill, Toms River, and Cherry Hill for a series of informational articles and blog posts in a new category labeled “Life After Narcan“.

We are dedicating this effort to raising awareness of the important issues that must be addressed as we continue to make progress in the battle against addiction in New Jersey, including the use of naloxone.

If you would like to contribute, or have additional questions, please contact us by phone or an email address setup specifically for this activity : AfterNarcan @ SunriseDetoxTomsRiver.com

Fooled you once, Now You’re Dead

My collegue John Moriarty in New Jersey has published a blog post warning of the dangers of fentanyl, a powerful drug that drug dealers in NJ are mixing into their products. It is a very important issue. Small doses of fentanyl can kill quickly.

But fentanyl isn't the only deadly substance being distributed by drug dealers. In one day, 15 people died of overdoses in one day Camden, NJ. Police say it wasn't fentanyl.

Fool me once, now I'm dead.

Drug dealers are in the business of profiting by exploiting the trust their customers place in them. Whether it comes sooner or later, the drug dealer will take everything he can, leaving the customer at great risk, or even dead.

You don't get a second chance at recovery if you're dead.

As we see more and more individuals become addicted to prescription pain killers, we see more driven to buy illegally, in order to obtain enough to sustain an active addiction and avoid withdrawal sickness. But buying illegally means doing business with a drug dealer. And drug dealers seek profits first, even if it means fooling the customer with a cheap, custom mix of chemicals that can kill.

We are here for those who need help 1-888-443-3869.

 

Ocean County DART Coalition Event May 27

Tonight is the Ocean County DART Coalition Forum “Can We Talk – Are You Listening?” at the Pine Belt Arena from 5pm to 9pm. The event is being organized by Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato, and will focus on the heroin epidemic that is sweeping through New Jersey's communities.

I will be there, along with Ryan Singer from Sunrise Detox Toms River, to answer questions and do everything we can to help support the mission of raising awareness of the heroin problem. Some of what we do in person, that might not be well known:

Answer specific questions about specific situations, such as loved ones with dependencies, concerns about past treatment efforts that didn't work well, state-of-the-art detox and rehab for addiction, family issues when dealing with addiction in the home, etc.
Discuss the nuances of insurance coverage for substance abuse, including real-world facts that are not in the insurance company brochure, or not common knowledge.
Provide direct, honest, informative talks about substance abuse, addiction and treatment, beyond what is normally published or mentioned in public discussions.

Here are a few snapshots of the stage being prepped for tonight's show, which will feature Richie Sambora (guitarist for Bon Jovi). It should be a fun night out with community, addressing an issue that needs as much attention as it can get these days. Sunrise Detox is a proud sponsor and participant.

Sound checks on the stage

Sound checks on the stage while preparing for tonight's DART Coalition Forum on Heroin Addiction in New Jersey

dart-coalition-forum-setup-may2014

Sunrise Detox is a proud supporter of the DART Coalition and Prosecutor Joseph Coronato's efforts to raise awareness of substance abuse and addiction in New Jersey

 

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.

 

 

 

10% of America’s Heroin Addicts Live in New Jersey

According to Radio 107.1 FM, 10% of the nation's heroin addicts live in New Jersey.

This week, I'm helping Radio 107.1 FM to raise awareness about the heroin epidemic that is ravaging our local communities. It's a serious problem; according to on-air statistics, 10% of all heroin addicts nationwide live in New Jersey.  Last year, more people died from heroin overdose than from vehicular DWI accidents, and addicts are as young as 10 years old.

3 Malls with Experts On-Hand to Help

On May 19th through May 23rd, from 7am until 10pm, Sunrise Detox staff will be at all three locations covered by this event. Joe Horrocks will be on-hand at Freehold Raceway Mall, Ryan Singer will be at Ocean County Mall, and I will be supporting our efforts from Monmouth Mall. Each of us are on-site answering questions and working with clinicians to try and help people to get into treatment immediately.

Ocean County deaths doubled from 2012 to 2013.

We've set up a call center specifically for this event to help raise awareness about New Jersey's heroin problem; if you or someone you know needs help, they can call us at (877)759-9757.

Raising Awareness of a Growing Problem

Statistics prove that the problem of heroin addiction in our state is quite severe. Since 2006, heroin use in New Jersey has tripled. The number of opiate overdose deaths jumped about 33% from 2011 to 2012. In Ocean County, which includes parts of the Jersey Shore, heroin deaths more than doubled between 2012 and 2013. These staggering numbers underscore a critical reality; that many of our fellow citizens desperately need help.

Real Help, Right Now

After just 2 days, we are seeing results. Parents, siblings, and neighbors have come down and voiced their concern and desire to help people they know, or loved ones who have problems with substance abuse or are in treatment, or recovery. Some have come down to admit they need help, and told us stories of their friends overdosing and in some cases dying in their presence. We've already helped a few people get into treatment immediately – in one case literally going from the mall directly to a treatment center.

Get Help and Advice, Right Now

Come on down to Ocean County Mall, Freehold Raceway Mall, or the Monmouth Mall and meet our professionals, counselors, admissions experts, and others who have come to provide help and assistance. Ask about how addiction starts, the connections between legal prescription pain killers and heroin, the symptoms of drug abuse, and the importance of getting medical assistance as soon as a dependency is recognized.

If you or someone you love has a problem with alcohol or drug use, stop by and you will find a friendly, informative ear to listen and provide expert advice, or call (877)759-9757