Sunrise Detox Blog

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 @

Sunrise Detox Music Program in the News


Ricky Byrd brings his experience helping individuals in the substance abuse / addiction treatment program at Sunrise Detox to Torrington, CT this weekend.

One of the “people's choice” favorite programs at Sunrise Detox in New Jersey is the music program. Thanks to dedicated, compassionate, and insightful musicians like Ricky Byrd, we've been exploring the strong connections between drug use, alcohol use, creativity, active engaged lifestyles, and even Rock n Roll, in the context of addiction  and sober living.

Guests at Sunrise Detox in New Jersey love it.

Ricky enjoys writing songs of his personal experiences, and expressing his insights into addiction and recovery. He also genuinely enjoys the community of friends and associates he has developed over his many years in rock and roll, and the past several years working with Sunrise Detox.

Just about everyone who has participated in the music program at Sunrise Detox will agree the connections between music and treatment for substance abuse is amazing, and that Ricky's perspectives help foster hope where it is truly needed. And now, Ricky is taking that message on the road, with a concert in Torrington Connecticut this weekend.

Learn more about this weekend's concert in CT from NewsTimes of Danbury.




FDA Approves Oxycontin for Children Aged 11-16 years

The FDA has issued an approval for the prescription of Oxycontin for children between the ages of 11 and 16 (commonly known as “teens” and referred to as “adolescents” in the treatment industry).

Oxycontin is a brand of extended-release oxycodone, a synthetic opioid whose chemical structure mimics heroin. Oxycontin is the original brand of opioid painkiller from Perdue Pharma which was heavily over-prescribed in its early years, fueling a wave of addiction that has helped create an unprecedented demand for the much cheaper but chemically similar heroin.

The early “extended release” Oxycontin was easily manipulated so that large dose intended for gradual release throughout the day could actually be delivered all at once. An addict could access super doses of oxycodone from the pills, which made them valuable on the black market. As with most opiates and opioids, higher doses lead to higher levels of need, fueling addiction. The FDA revoked approval of that product under pressure from the addiction treatment industry and others, once more effective “extended release” methods were developed.

The approval of OxyContin for children followed 3 years of clinical trials, review, and approval by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) at the FDA. The review panel at CDER believes that OxyContin is “different from most other drugs in its class because it has been reformulated to better resist being crushed or dissolved”, which “discourages abuse by nasal or intravenous (IV)” use.

Only one other extended-release drug is specifically approved for extreme pain management in adolescents. Duragesic, a brand of fentanyl, is an extremely powerful opioid, estimated to be up to 100 times the strength of pure heroin. In 2015 over a dozen deaths were recorded in New Jersey when drug dealers introduced fentanyl-laced heroin into the street markets. Addicts sought the extreme highs promised by such a powerful drug, but almost immediately died from overdose.

Physicians are generally free to prescribe and use any drugs regardless of specific FDA approvals, using their own professional discretion (known as “off-label use” which is commonplace). Adult formulations of opioids, opiates, and other analgesics have been given to adolescents when necessary. The warnings and precautions for pediatric patients are the same as for adults.

Heroin addiction is now considered near epidemic levels in many states, including New Jersey, and heroin use is known to follow prescription opioid abuse when access to the prescription pills is suddenly shut off. Individuals addicted to the opioid pills find themselves desperate for an equivalent, and heroin is widely available, cheaper, and equivalent.

Heroin addiction is a now a serious problem among teens in New Jersey, where detox centers have to treat adolescents, and after school rehab programs provided intensive outpatient treatment designed to educate addicted teens and help them return to society free of dependency on drugs or alcohol.

Many more brands of opioids and opiates are now available on the market, but Purdue Pharma did clinical trials which support this FDA decision.

In 2012 Purdue Pharma began clinical trials on children, causing some to accuse the company of pursuing profits at the expense of child welfare.

In 2012 Purdue Pharma began clinical trials on children, causing some to accuse the company of pursuing profits at the expense of child welfare.

The FDA approval is very specific, requesting that doctors only prescribe these powerful opioids in severe cases of overwhelming need for pain relief, and when no other less-risky option exists. Medical professionals involved in treating addiction note that a small percentage of these patients will indeed develop an addiction to the Oxycontin, which must be managed.

While it is very important to note the very restrictive terms of this FDA approval of Oxycontin for adolescents as young as 11, it is also essential that everyone recognize the rise of prescription painkiller addiction followed over-prescribing by physicians, doctor shopping by patients, illegal sales of diverted drugs “lost” or “misplaced” by pharmacies, stolen from medicine cabinets, or sold by fixed-income seniors and others given easy access to prescription pain killers they didn't need, but sold for side income.

The Importance of FDA Oversight

It is essential that the FDA responsibly consider clinical trial research, and approve medicines that are needed, with strong guidelines that help protect our society from addiction. It is just as important, however, that we protect ourselves against a thriving illegal black market in drugs, provide monitoring and oversight to prevent the diversion of legitimate drugs into those illegal markets, educate people of the risks of addiction, and provide access to addiction treatment.

We must also educate physicians on the risks of prescribing opiates and opioids, and teach them to recognize substance abuse and dependency, while helping them refer patients to effective treatment.

Opening Camden County Drug Treatment Center ASAP

heroin deaths Camden County, NJ

The Camden County regional heroin addiction reatment center will open ASAP, as Camden County leads the State for heroin overdose deaths. New Jersey is now experiencing 3 TIMES the national rate for heroin overdose deaths.

Cherry Hill Detox Center : Open House Next Week!

Sunrise Detox is opening in Cherry Hill, New Jersey to help serve the growing demand for heroin addiction treatment services in New Jersey and Philadelphia. The timing is helpful, as today the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released data showing that Americans are increasingly choosing to engage with heroin, and the dangerous, addicting drug is taking a serious toll : death  rates from heroin overdose have increased 4 fold over the past ten years.

As noted on the Cherry Hill Detox blog, an even more alarming statistic is the relative number for the State of New Jersey : 3 times HIGHER than the national average!

The Cherry Hill Open House and Networking Event is July 15 at the new Cherry Hill detox center. Please RSVP.

Camden County among the Hardest Hit

Camden County, situated between the Pine Lands and the Delaware River/City of Philadelphia, is aligned with a major traffic corridor between Philadelphia and the southern Jersey Shore. Cherry Hill is itself a transportation corridor for Northern New Jersey and the northestern US to the west. Close to the central government districts in Trenton, and convenient to both the Jersey Shore and urban cultural areas, Camden County is home to professionals, suburban families, and the full spectrum of New Jersey residents.

Heroin Addiction following Pain Pill Abuse

Heroin is an opiate, very similar to the prescription pain killers (Percocet, Vicodin) found in almost every medicine cabinet in America. The synthetic pharmaceutical versions may be derived from the same natural sources as heroin (known as opiates) or created as manufactured molecules with similar chemical structure, causing almost identical effects (opioids).For dependent users of these drugs, there is little difference between clean heroin and prescription pain killers.

Unfortunately, there is very little “clean” heroin. Virtually all street heroin is tainted with other chemicals, and very often those chemicals are dangerous and often deadly. Even if there was a “clean” heroin, however, the addiction process does not stop and rarely slows down. Opiate abuse leads to more opiate abuse almost always, with no end in sight. The only way for an addict to avoid painful and possible deadly sickness, is to keep using, and to kep using more.

In many cases, prescription drugs are optimal combinations of opiates and opioids, designed specifically to impact the brain the same way heroin does – by activating a reward cycle that encourages addiction, and leading to a physical dependency which deters quitting. If a heroin user stops using, they start to feel sick. The more advanced the addiction, the stronger that sickness will be, moving from discomfort like and queasyness to including paranoia and serious mental disorders.

Heroin addiction, as America is learning, is more than irresponsible recreational drug use out of control. Today's heroin addiction is advanced prescription drug addiction, which is now out of control for many, many people.

Heroin Addiction Treatment vs Substance Abuse Treatment

Heroin addiction must be treated the way other drug addictions are treated – individually. Each person has a unique set of physical, emotional, mental, and social conditions supporting an addiction disorder. While the chemicals abused may be the same, the circumstances surrounding any given addiction are unique. There is no single “solution” to drug addiction, but instead there is a process of rehabilitation and recovery which leads to a hopeful life worth living, without addicting substances.

That rehab process always starts with a medical detox, which can last from 3 to 10 or more days, depending on physical and mental status, chemical dependency, and history of drug use. During detox the medical and professional staff prevent and manage the sickness that would come from withdrawal and the co-ocurring mental, physical, and emotional issues that may be unmasked as the substances are cleared from the body. They provide a safe, comfortable, and supportive environment that is technically designed specifically to support the detox process, and encourage recovery. The detox experts beging the process of educating, training, and supporting each individual as needed, while securing appropriate medical or psychological support as needed, and help the guest find an appropriate rehab for after care.

Sunrise Detox will even help make sure every guest gets to that rehab, following successful detox.

Sunrise Detox Job Fair : Cherry Hill Detox Center

Sunrise Detox Job Fair June 3-5 at Regus Executive Suites Towne Place at Garden State Park 923 Haddonfield Road Suite 300, Cherry Hill, NJ

June 3-5 at Regus Executive Suites 923 Haddonfield Road Suite 300, Cherry Hill

Sunrise Detox is expanding in New Jersey, with a new state-of-the-art medical detox center opening in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. This 30 bed inpatient substance abuse treatment facility (medical detox center) brings over 30 career positions into New Jersey.

On June 3-5, we are holding a Job Fair to match outstanding candidates to new positions in Cherry Hill. Please view the attached flyer about the event, and share this with your friends and collegues in the region.

We are excited at the opportunity to bring additional substance abuse treatment resources into New Jersey at this time, and look forward to building an outstanding team of committed individuals to bring our patient-centered, quality “Detox with Dignity” to Cherry Hill.

Click to view a large version of this important job fair announcement.

Click to view a large version of this important job fair announcement.

Substance Abuse Treatment Jobs in New Jersey

We're looking for qualified individuals to join our team, including Chemical Dependency Techs, Admissions staff, Administrative Assistants, Counselors, Nurses, Kitchen Staff, Maintenance staff, and more!

Please bring your resume and dress to impress, for an on-site interview!

Note : Please read the flyer. This is a registered healthcare facility. Pre-employment drug testing and background screening are mandatory. Two years clean and sober are required for consideration. Minor charges may be overlooked if disclosed honestly.

For more information contact or visit our Career Opportunities page.

Can't make this one? Sign up for our Sunrise Detox notification list, to learn more about opportunities as they become available at Sunrise Detox.

Drug testing with Fingerprints : Cocaine in Fingerprints

Cocaine use can now be reliably detected via fingerprint testing, according to scientists.

Cocaine use can now be reliably detected via fingerprint testing, according to scientists.

If there weren't enough good reasons to stop using drugs, we now have another. Scientists have successful demonstrated that cocaine use can be detected in fingerprints.

Scientists developed a method of examining the residual material left behind in fingerprints, and discovered adequate amounts of cocaine, benzoylecgonine (BZE) and methylecgonine (EME). The levels detected were adequate for testing. Once tested, the mass spectrometry results correalted well with oral samples, meaning fingerprint testing may be a suitable method for detecting cocaine use.

Anyone needing help breaking free of substance abuse and addiction should come in for detox and treatment as soon as possible. There is everything to gain from acting immediately when a problem is acknowledged. There is a lot to lose… and now even more, such as your job, security clearance, or other important aspects of your life, if you cannot stop abusing drugs and get scrutinized.

This new research on detecting cocaine in fingerprints is soon to appear in the journal “Analyst”, as reported by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

International AA Meeting 2015 : Atlanta

Sunrise Detox Atlanta has full details of the upcoming 2015 International AA Convention, in Atlanta, GA

Sunrise Detox Atlanta has full details of the upcoming 2015 International AA Convention, in Atlanta, GA

The International Alcoholics Anonymous Convention for 2015 will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, home of our new drug and alcohol detox center in Alpharetta (just north of Atlanta). The AA convention will be held during the first week of July. See the detailed announcement at

The 2015 International Convention also marks the 80th “birthday” of the 12 Step fellowship for recovering addicts. The Atlanta event is expected to draw upwards of 60,000 conventioneers into Atlanta.