New Jersey is a small but populated state that is known for its rich history, access to metropolitan areas and wealthy suburbs. New Jersey is the third wealthiest state based on median household income, yet the location and affluent neighborhoods make New Jersey a target for drugs. The state lies in between New York City and Philadelphia, and these cities are some of the hardest hit places for drug trafficking because of their extensive transportation systems and East Coast ports.

It’s true that many drugs are simply trafficked through the state of New Jersey without being noticed by residents, but the availability of these illegal substances have made it easy for people to get their hands on drugs and start the cycle of abuse. There is no shortage of drugs in this area, and the affluent suburbs have caused a steep increase in prescription drug and heroin use. We’ve seen our fair share of New Jersey residents who are battling addiction and have chosen The River Source as their first serious step in getting sober.

Why Addiction is Prevalent in New Jersey

Since New Jersey lies in between New York City and Philadelphia, drugs are consistently moved through the state and into the surrounding suburbs and cities. Many drug dealers have moved out of the cities and into the quieter confines of the New Jersey suburbs, looking for new territory to expand their market and to escape increasing law enforcement in the cities.

Not only have members from street gangs moved into rural towns in New Jersey, but also heroin has increased substantially. It used to be that cocaine was a hot drug coming out of the East Coast ports and into Europe, but now the focus has shifted toward heroin. Heroin is cheaper and more in demand, especially with the rising prescription drug problem. Today, cocaine and heroin are the biggest threats in the state.

How Does New Jersey Compare to Other States?

Compared to other states, drug abuse in New Jersey is lower than average. Approximately 6 percent of the population has reported using illegal drugs in the past month, compared to the national average of 8 percent. The rate of drug-induced deaths is also lower than the national average, with only 9.2 percent of the population facing drug-related deaths, compared to the national average of 12.7 percent. From a statistical standpoint, New Jersey has low drug rates and is not nearly as threatened by marijuana as other states.

Still, statistics don’t help us deal with the 6 percent of the population that is abusing drugs. While New Jersey does have lower drug abuse numbers, a 2006 study reported that 650,000 residents had used marijuana in the prior year, 250,000 had abused prescription painkillers and 130,000 had used cocaine. And with the wealthy neighborhoods nestled in the quiet confines of New Jersey, the prescription drug problem is growing, and heroin is following after.

A Close Look at the Numbers

Below is the percentage of the New Jersey population using and/or abusing drugs.

Illicit Drugs Age 18+
Past Month Illicit Drug Use 1 6.27%
Past Year Marijuana Use 8.75%
Past Month Marijuana Use 4.54%
Past Month Use of Illicit Drugs other Than Marijuana 1 2.91%
Past Year Cocaine Use 1.95%
Past Year Non-Medical Pain Reliever Use 3.39%
Alcohol Age 18+
Past Month Alcohol Use 59.28%
Past Month Binge Alcohol Use 2 24.08%
Past Year Dependence, Abuse & Treatment Age 18+
Illicit Drug Dependence 1 1.49%
Illicit Drug Dependence or Abuse 1 2.10%
Alcohol Dependence 3.01%
Alcohol Dependence or Abuse 6.67%
Alcohol or Illict Dependence or Abuse 1 7.62%
Needing but not Receiving Treatment for Illicit Drug Use 1, 3 1.72%
Needing but not Receiving Treatment for Alcohol Use 3 6.36%
1 – Illicit Drugs include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants, or prescription-like psychotherapeutics that are used non-medically. Illicit Drugs Other Than Marijuana include cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants or prescription-like psychotherapeutics that are used non-medically2 – Binge alcohol is defined as drinking five or more drinks in the same setting on at least one day in the past 30 days3 – Needing But Not Receiving Treatment refers to the respondents needing treatment for illicit drug or alcohol use but not seeking specific treatment at a facility

4 – Major Depressive Episode is defined as having a period of at least 2 weeks where a person experienced a depressed state of mind or loss of interest in daily activities. They also have the symptoms listed in the DSM-IV

Source: National Survey on Drug Use & Health, 2004 and 2005, SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies

Serious Psychological Distress 9.70%

Why Seek Treatment in Arizona

Although The River Source is located on the other half of the country, it’s not complicated for New Jersey residents to seek treatment in our state. We provide transportation from the airport and offer family counseling sessions over the phone. Our New Jersey patients have taken great pride in their decision to seek treatment in Arizona where the sun is always shining and the desert terrains offer peace and solitude. Being removed for a toxic environment is the best way to overcome struggles and choose a new direction.