Heroin

107 Hours of Radio: Raising Awareness of New Jersey’s Heroin Epidemic

Monmouth Radio show "PorkRoll & Eggs" will begin broadcasting for 107 hours on 5/19 at 6am, to help raise awareness of the heroin addiction problem in New Jersey.

Monmouth Radio show “PorkRoll & Eggs” will begin broadcasting for 107 hours on 5/19 at 6am, to help raise awareness of the heroin addiction problem in New Jersey.

Nina, Tom and A.J. from 107.1 FM's popular Porkroll & Eggs morning show, are dedicating a week of attention to New Jersey's heroin epidemic, and we want to show our support.

Starting May 19th at 6am, the Porkroll & Eggs Morning Show from 107.1 FM will begin broadcasting live for 107 hours at various locations throughout Monmouth & Ocean counties in New Jersey. Sunrise wants to support this effort, and will have representatives on-hand to provide information and answer questions, and helping those who need assistance find it.

Nina, Tom and A.J. will be stationed in the parking lots of the Monmouth Mall, Freehold Raceway Mall, and Ocean County Mall to help raise awareness about the heroin epidemic taking place right now in our communities.

“Heroin and opiate abuse has become a staggering problem in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. New Jersey is now home to over 10% of the nations heroin addicts, most of whom are between the ages of 17 & 26 years old.” –Porkroll & Eggs

The organizers continue “It is a problem that affects us all, regardless of social status. These are our neighbors and friends, our kids and their peers, dealing with this in schools and at parties and even in our own homes. One of the hardest issues to address is denial. If you think it won’t touch you in some way because of who you are or where you live, you are wrong. Heroin is in your town, it’s a problem and it’s spreading.”

As part of this event, stationary bikes will be setup at each location for anyone to ride. The Jules L. Plangere, Jr. Family Foundation will be donating $1 for every mile ridden on each bike at all locations, up to $25,000, to local charities that fully fund recovery programs.

For more information, visit 107 Radio

Paterson, NJ Heroin Bust : 300 “Bricks” Won’t Change Much

While I commend all law enforcement in what they do and in their battle against this heroin epidemic here in New Jersey, April's first heroin bust is just a pin prick in the fight.  Police report having seized 300 bricks of heroin, said to have a $120,000 street value. The heroin bust took place in Paterson, which is in Passaic County and central to Northern New Jersey.

To add some perspective, a “brick” of heroin is usually 5 bundles. A “bundle” of heroin usually leans  10 “bags” of heroin.  Heroin users consumer heroin “by the bag”.

According to a vast majority of our clients at Sunrise Detox in Northern New Jersey and Toms River at the Jersey Shore,  a New Jersey heroin addict seeking treatment (for whatever reason) is using 7-10 bags of heroin a day. Roughly one bundle of heroin, per day.

So 300 “bricks” is 1500 bundles, or 1500 “days” of heroin addiction. In a state with 9 million people, is this a big deal?

Yes, it is. It can take just one  dose to kill a son or a daughter (or mother, or father, or teacher, or someone you loved). For an addict suffering under addiction, it takes just one more dose to stave off the effects of withdrawal, and continue the addiction instead of seeking help with heroin addiction treatment. We all know that heroin addiction doesn't get weaker over time — heroin consumes lives, because active heroin users are driven to need increasing amounts of the drug over time.

Each bag of heroin is important. Every single one. But we have to do much, much more.

The seizure and arrests are hopefully the start if a trend here in New Jersey in this fight. Too often in the fight against drugs we are always talking in quantities of heroin and dollar values of sized drugs “kept off the street”. Rarely do we talk about the number of actual lives affected, or in this case saved by the enforcement action.

Tuesdays arrests in Paterson, if we use the math above, saved the lives of 5 individuals consuming a bundle a day for the next 300 days.  Unfortunately in a state with tens of thousands of individuals addicted to heroin, the user will find another dealer, and then another. The loss of 300 bricks is not likely to impact the street price except perhaps in the short term, in Paterson, as dealers rearrange their turfs and supply chains.

Authorities broke up a drug ring over the weekend, seizing semi-automatic handguns, $20,000 in cash, and more than 300 bricks of heroin in a bust that brought down two heroin mills and saw six people arrested in Paterson, New Jersey – UPI news report

We are entering a delicate time here in New Jersey with heroin. Public awareness is being raised due to recent public figures taking active roles, which is a plus. But more needs to be done with awareness, law enforcement and treatment.

Comfortable living room of the Toms River Sunrise Detox center. Comfort, safety, confidentiality, and expert medical detox.

Comfortable living room of the Toms River Sunrise Detox center. Comfort, safety, confidentiality, and expert medical detox.

At Sunrise Detox we strongly advocate for insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment, and increased access to funds that will enable safe and comfortable detox for individuals to start their journey of healing in treatment. We know that a safe, respectful, and comfortable initial detox from heroin, is the very best start to a successful recovery.

For every brick or bundle of heroin seized and taken off the streets, we must also provide treatment for substance abuse, especially heroin addiction treatment, to help addicts get off of the drug and stay safe in recovery. Any unbalanced approach to the heroin epidemic may end up raising prices and increasing the risks associated with addiction, without saving as many lives.

Reference: 2011 East new York heroin bust reported by NJ.com

NJ Today: 15 Heroin Overdoses in One Day

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that a “bad batch” of heroin distributed in Camden, New Jersey sent 15 people to area hospitals, 12 of them within one hour of the day. The reporter remarks that 14 of the 15 were “suburbanites”, as if that were surprising. We know otherwise — New Jersey's suburban youth are becoming addicted to prescription pain killers, and finding their way to cheaper, more accessible heroin.

Ira Levy highlighted this trend in June of 2013, and recent government data shows that 80% of heroin abusers started with prescription drugs.  It is very important to get treatment for prescription drug addictions as soon as the need is recognized, before more damage is done by heroin for example.

 

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a Son, Partner, and a Dad for 3 Children

Superbowl Sunday started with some negative news here on the east coast. Academy award winner Hoffman had died due to a suspected overdose. Hoffman was in detox last year after a heroin relapse following 23 years of sobriety. He was found on Sunday with a needle in his arm.  The harsh reality of heroin always seems to come to the forefront when a celebrity overdoses.

The truth though is that Hoffman was a dad of 3 young children. He lived with his long time girlfriend and mother of his children since 1998. That's the pain.  That's the part of this that hits home for all of us. Take the celebrity out of it, and there are 3 children who won't have a dad anymore. There is a single mom asking why, why, why.

Details are unclear as to Mr. Hoffmans detox last year, but stories claim  he went to detox and returned to work. At Sunrise Detox we advocate strongly for clinical care after detox to deal with the emotional struggles usually associated with heroin addiction. There is no quick fix for opiate use.

While the world will miss a great actor I am thinking of another family destroyed by heroin!

Fentanyl Contaminated Heroin Alerts

Someone is manufacturing Fentanyl, a very powerful opioid chemical, and selling it as heroin. Over 100 times as powerful as morphine, a dose of Fentanyl can kill you. Hundreds have died already, since last summer.

The Fentanyl-contaminated heroin is believed to be the cause of dozens of deaths this past month in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Long Island.

Drugs collected at scenes of overdose deaths are labeled in different ways. There are reports of wax folds stamped “bud Light”, “Theraflu”, “24K”, “Bud Ice”, “Tax Time”, “ObamaCare”, and others. Changing a label is as easy as rubber-stamping a wax fold. You should not expect to recognize the poisonous heroin by the label.

Investigators working on 22 deaths in Pennsylvania and 5 in Nassau County suspect a deadly mix previously known as “China White” may be the cause. Investigators know that the manufacture and distribution is intentional. Fentanyl is not distributed as a powder legally. Someone is purposefully and illegally manufacturing and distributing the deadly combination.

If you are addicted to heroin and cannot stop yourself from taking life-threatening risks associated with street heroin, especially in times of tainted or poisoned batches like those circulated widely right now, please call for help.

Everyone must choose to get help with addiction, and this is a perfect time to enter medical detox for opiate addiction. Sunrise Detox offers comfortable, medical detox and preparation for rehab in Stirling New Jersey (in Morris County, convenient to New York) and starting this month, in Toms River (along the Jersey Shore, convenient to Philadelphia and most of New Jersey). Start with a phone call to find out what options are available to you: 888-443-3869

Alert from long Island about Fentanyl-contaminated heroin killing people.

Alert from long Island about Fentanyl-contaminated heroin killing people.

From Nassau County on Long Island:

OFFICE OF THE MEDICAL EXAMINER
COUNTY OF NASSAU
CONTAMINATED HEROIN ALERT

The Nassau County Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating several deaths initially assumed to be linked to the abuse of heroin, but in fact were found to have involved the potent narcotic fentanyl. Evidence associated with two of these cases has been analyzed by the Forensic Toxicology Laboratory and has been determined to contain fentanyl in combination with the banned antipyretic metamizole. Specifically these glassine packets are stamped as “24K” in red ink.

Fentanyl is a synthetic narcotic analgesic of extremely high potency. Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, the active ingredient of heroin. Clinically fentanyl is used for the treatment of severe pain or for the induction of anesthesia. Severe respiratory depression may occur with the use of fentanyl. Metamizole is an analgesic and antipyretic that is similar in use to ibuprofen. Metamizole has been banned for use in the US since 1977 due to the potential for the development of agranulocytosis.

The Nassau County Medical Examiner is reporting that glassine packets marked as “24K” that is presumably being distributed as heroin, in fact contains the extremely potent narcotic analgesic fentanyl. The Nassau County Medical Examiner is disseminating this information for situational awareness purposes only.

Laced Heroin on Long Island: http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/laced-heroin-linked-to-5-overdose-deaths-in-nassau-1.6920119

Four arrested bringing heroin from Newark to Ocean County http://www.nj.com/essex/index.ssf/2014/01/four_arrested_in_plot_to_traffick_drugs_from_newark_to_ocean_county.html#incart_river

Fentanyl-laced heroin kills in PA http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/30/justice/pennsylvania-heroin-deaths/ and http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/27/health/pennsylvania-drug-deaths/index.html

Maryland deaths from Fentanyl-laced heroin http://www.afro.com/sections/news/baltimore/story.htm?storyid=81334

Addiction Doesn’t Have to End in Death

New Jersey is suffering from a wave of heroin and prescription pain killer abuse, but it is not a new thing like a plague or infectious agent. The abuse is a continuation of known behavior we've seen increase over many years — people experimenting and abusing drugs and alcohol.  The difference, and the reason our kids are dying now, is in the drugs. The drugs, the combinations of drugs, and the combination of drugs and alcohol is deadlier than ever before.

At Sunrise Detox we treat those who have an acknowledged physical and/or psychological dependency on substances like heroin, opiates (Percocet, Oxycontin), and mood altering prescription drugs like Xanax. We help them break free of the addiction that is running their lives, hopefully before it destroys everything. But many of the overdose deaths are from sudden, deadly over-dosing of drugs that were of unknown purity, or were also mixed with alcohol in deadly combinations.

At some point this year,  drug overdose counts in New Jersey climbed to alarming levels. Those involved with drug abuse and overdoses noted that nearly 60% of the deaths were of kids aged 20-26.  It is true that some of these  could have been prevented if the kids were admitted into treatment (drug detox for 10 days, followed by residential rehab or other treatment). But it is also likely that many would have died even if treatment had been arranged, because the overdose was a sudden, unexpected event. They didn't know that last hit would kill them.

Here are some of the key reasons why over 115 New Jerseyans (most in their twenties) have died this year:

Prescription Drugs are considered Safer than Heroin

As young adults experimented with drugs, they watched doctors prescribe numerous high-potency medications for various purposes (post-surgical pain management, sports injury pain management, toothache pain, etc) and came to understand that these pain drugs were pure, controlled, and recommended by doctors. So when it came time to “take some drugs” to get high, those prescription pills were a safer bet than street drugs of unknown composition or purity.

Many who would say they would never engage in street drug activity or “shoot heroin” were willingly ingesting, snorting, or smoking crushed up prescription pills which were, in fact, almost chemically identical to heroin.

Prescription Opiates and Opioids were Readily Available for Years

Opiate and opioid prescription pain killers are highly addicting, yet were readily available for many years in New Jersey. When a physical addiction sets in, the addict must work hard to secure enough supply to stave off the sickness of withdrawal. That is why heroin addicts often turn to petty crimes so quickly… they need more and more drug to stave off withdrawal sickness, and become desperate for money to pay for the drugs.

In effect, the ready supply of powerful prescription drugs in New jersey enabled addictions to advance without some of the real-world pressures associated with drug seeking. Until…

Prescription Opiates and Opioids (Painkillers) suddenly became Scarce

As awareness of the prescription drug addiction problems grew, the controlled channels for addictive prescription pain killers shut down. The New Jersey Prescription Drug Monitoring Program shut down a lot of doctor shopping, which was a primary way to get more than an appropriate amount of a drug by prescription. Various enforcement efforts stepped up, including increased drug take-back and medicine cabinet clean out or lock up awareness campaigns. These efforts removed more drugs from easy reach.  Additionally, enforcement actions taken against “over prescribers” and loosely-managed pharmacies meant the steady supply of pure, high-potency drugs was shutting off.

An unintended consequence of these positive efforts to contain the pill problem was that many unacknowledged pill addictions were left without a supply of pharmaceutical grade drugs of known, controlled dose. Then…

Enter the Heroin Dealer : Supply and Demand

Did you know that many prescription pain killers are just about chemically equivalent to heroin, the most addictive street drug? Faced with an active addiction to pills and a suddenly curtailed supply chain, what would an addicted young adult in New Jersey do?After just a day or two without drugs, the withdrawal sickness can get quite severe.

The drug dealers provided an answer: heroin. Cheaper than ever, and often stronger than ever, heroin became the only acceptable substitute for an addict in desperate need of pills to prevent sickness from withdrawal.

This is where heron detox is the right move — get into a drug detox center as withdrawal sickness threatens. When the pill supply runs out, and the money runs out, the addict faces real challenges. The only options available are much more dangerous than the drug abuse has been up to that point.

Engaging in high-risk, illegal activities to raise money might seem preferable to withdrawal sickness. Taking on debt to the potentially violent drug dealer might start to seem like a good idea. Or starting to sell drugs for profit, to cover the need, despite the risks of arrest and prison. When the addiction is pushing the addict towards the most dangerous drugs on the street, and the highest risk behaviors, the right move is to get into drug detox center under medical care.

At Sunrise Detox our medical assessment quickly sets the stage for managing the addiction. Medications are used to prevent withdrawal sickness from interfering with efforts to get clean of the influence of the drugs. Our focus in on comfort and care, with sincere determination to break thru the physical dependency, while securing whatever medical and perhaps psychological treatment is needed.

The Street Drugs are often Deadly

Detox is also the right move before the addict takes the much bigger risk of ingesting or otherwise using the street version of the drugs. What's been mixed in with the drug? In what concentration?

The dealer can't be trusted. Street drugs are often mixed with various fillers to increase profits, but sometimes are kept extremely pure to encourage further dependency. How do you know what you are getting?

A hit of heroin of unknown purity and composition can be deadly for one person, while tolerable for another. Our kids may have been feeding an active addiction to moderate doses of opioids, and then left to chance their lives with what was supposed to be an equivalent dose, but turns out to be a deadly overdose.

Drugs and Alcohol Don't Mix Well

One of the more common contributors to overdose death on New Jersey is alcohol. Again, a user may have become accustomed to a specific dose of prescription drugs, and survived taking them with alcohol, but then die from a deadly mixture of the same alcohol with street heroin of unexpectedly purity or composition.

We Need Education, Prevention, Awareness, Intervention, and Treatment

All of this is needed to fix the problems we're experiencing in New Jersey right now. We need to recognize addiction for what it is – a physical and psychological dependency on substances which change our bodies and minds, so we are not in control of our actions and futures. We need to intervene as soon as we have an opportunity. Get the individual into medical detox or addiction treatment, in any way possible, to begin the process of regaining control over the addiction. And then, through determination, commitment, and unconditional love and acceptance, help move them towards successful recovery. It won't be easy, but it can be done.

Every addiction drives the victim hard towards and end, but addiction doesn't have to end in death. Intervene as soon as you have a chance, and please ask for help. If Sunrise Detox can help, call us at  888-443-3869.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,000 New Jersey Residents are in Substance Abuse Treatment, Every Day

In New Jersey on any given day, nearly 1,000 people are in a clinic or hospital receiving substance abuse treatment. Most have entered a detox program (Sunrise Detox in Stirling services over 100 individuals every month) for what is typically a week to ten days of medically-supervised treatment. The initial detox is needed to stabilize them medically, so they can prepare for rehab or another treatment plan. The rest are in hospitals, also receiving detox before further treatment.

People are often surprised by the high numbers. Nearly 1,000 moms, dads, workers, professionals… one thousand New Jersey residents every day, getting treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction. Nearly half (42%) are in for heroin and prescription pain killers (heroin is an opiate, and many painkillers are synthetic opiates known as opioids, also highly addicting). Over 30% of the rest are in for alcohol abuse (dependency).

These data are from 2010. The trend lines for both alcohol and opiate abuse have increased dramatically since then, so today's numbers are likely to be even higher.