Author: Justin Mckibben
As if you haven’t heard about this before, and if you haven’t I’d hate to be the one to show you the writing on the wall, the heroin and opiate epidemic in America has claimed an insurmountable number of lives. Towards the end of 2015 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the entire nation had reached a devastating point in the drug addiction issue and with the overdose death outbreak in America, stating that 47,000 people died from drug overdose– 28,647 were opiate related deaths.
The state of New Jersey is no stranger to the inevitable pain and destruction caused by heroin. As a well-populated and thriving suburban area some of the communities of New Jersey have experienced frequent spikes in heroin related deaths, and in some an analysis of the state medical examiner data showed that heroin has been named in more than 5,267 deaths in New Jersey since 2004- half of which took place since 2011! But with the events of this week, that number may get bigger before anything gets better.
Bigger Body Counts
Bringing with it a wave of devastation, a new form of heroin has hit the streets of Camden, New Jersey and in just 24 hours killed 15 people! Heroin in its purest form has hit suburban New Jersey hard and now police are struggling to fight back. Emergency responders and law enforcement are troubled about the potential of more deaths, and the community is in shock.
Camden Metro Police Chief Scott Thompson was reached for comment in regards to this sudden string of tragic deaths, and in his statement to members of the press Thompson stated:
“Right now we know that there is something out there that’s putting people in near death situations,”
These 15 overdoses occurred in several surrounding towns since Tuesday, March 22 and of the 15 cases 14 of the victims were young individuals. Thompson described the situation and the victims as in their younger 20’s and named the some of the impacted areas as:
- Washington Township
- Cherry Hill
The Chief emphasized to the public that this is a drug that knows no social or economic barriers, and that heroin does not discriminate against who it hooks, or who it kills.
Stronger Heroin on NJ Streets
According to authorities directly involved in the investigation these bags of potent and potentially lethal heroin doses are marked in specifically labeled bags. Chief Thompson further explained,
“The bags are branded. That’s part of the marketing scheme of the drug dealer. If you were to walk into the community of drug users and start to talk about bags, you’re talking about locations.”
What some would hope is that this connection would help law enforcement follow the trail back to the supplier, and local police are currently stepping up patrols. Authorities have even put Cooper University Hospital on alert in case of additional incidences.
With the escalating intensity of heroin related overdoses and deaths, the state is trying to take aggressive action towards tracking down the source of this pure heroin product that has been flooding the Camden County area, while keeping first responders on stand-by and expecting the worst while hoping for the best.
15 dead in 24 hours is a staggering and horrifying measurement of mortalities in any state under any circumstance.
Think about that. 1 day… 15 people gone, 14 under the age of 30… that is the grim reality, and it seems to get worse every time we write about it.
Heroin continues to destroy lives and desolate families and homes to an alarming and disastrous degree, while politicians and law enforcement clamor to find a method of effectively fighting back and curbing the calamity that has resulted from this poison clogging the streets. One can only hope that beyond putting a stop to this pure heroin from taking more lives that more heroin abusers and addicts are getting the help they need before it is too late.
A story like this just shows how much we need to share that there is a way out. There are thousands of people who have recovered and there are thousands still who may die without the chance. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Photo Via: http://commons.wikimedia.org
Author: Justin Mckibben
Have you ever seen a movie with the characters Jay and Silent Bob? If not, go watch one right now… don’t worry, I’ll wait… RIGHT?! How awesome was that?!
“Ladies, Ladies, Ladies, Jay and Silent Bob are in the hizzouse!”
All jokes aside, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the hysterically funny actor Jason Mewes, he has a face that is synonymous with pop culture. The man is a comedic cinema icon, and has been part of a lengthy list of films and media including:
- Chasing Amy
He has been a feature in all films made by Kevin Smith, who plays the other half of his dynamic duo ‘Bob’, while Jason himself plays ‘Jay’. As the more vocal half in the Jay and Silent Bob partnership, he has come to define the fast-talking and all imaginative “marijuana-enthusiast” character known for snatching the spotlight in every scene he was in.
Jason is not only a 20-year film veteran with 81 acting credits in his filmography, he is also a man committed to his craft… and his recovery.
Jays Sober Journey
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back is infamous as a cult classic, and Jason’s first movie, Clerks, set the standard for independently produced films. Besides doing voice-work for cartoons and video games he is on the road continuing the successful podcast he started with Kevin Smith called “Jay and Silent Bob Get Old.”
He is also very honest and open about his struggles with drugs, admitting that when bored comes his cravings can set in, and now-a-days it seems he as busy as a guy could take.
The irony here is Jason made his name as an actor playing a stereotypical “stoner!” The character of Jay is a drug dealing clown who hangs outside malls and fast-food spots all day selling weed to kids, but the man behind the funny guy is actually clean and sober.
Jason has been pretty public since his recovery about his struggles with heroin addiction and in a recent interview with The Fix, Jason admitted:
“Right around 21 is when I tried opioids for the first time. It’s in my family, I was born addicted to heroin. My mom was a heroin addict. My sister is a drug addict, my brother is a drug addict. It’s in the blood and in the genes.”
“I tried the opioids when I knew it was bad news. At that point, I had done Clerks, Mallrats, and Drawing Flies which is an independent film, and Chasing Amy. That’s what I wanted to do at that point and I feel like the drugs really hindered me.”
Kevin Smith entered Mewes into the first of a series of drug rehabilitation clinics in 1997, which would be the beginning of a back and forth battle with substance abuse.
In 1999 Mewes was arrested in New Jersey for heroin possession, and was sentenced to probation including:
- Community service
- Drug counseling
- Regular court appearances in New Jersey
In late 2001, after he failed to make a court appearance, a warrant was issued for his arrest. After the death of his mother in 2002 as a result of AIDS, he surrendered himself at a Freehold, New Jersey court and pleaded guilty to probation violation charges in April of 2003. He was ordered to enter a six-month rehab program, but that was also not his last stay in treatment. He ended up going back and forth for a few more years, even bumping into an old friend Ben Affleck who at the time was in rehab for alcoholism.
Further on during the interview when discussing his history with drug use, Jason talked about how drugs had hinders the normalcy of life that was supposed to come with growing up, and about how at one point he didn’t like what he did, and was just doing movies to get up and go in the morning.
Later in that interview when asked about maintaining his sobriety over time, Jason stated:
“To me, it’s really just about being honest and surrounding myself with people.”
“I didn’t want to share with people, or let people know, even though people did know. In my head, and being all messed up, I thought people didn’t know because I thought it would mess up my chances of working. Again, it was obvious, I was like 140 pounds and I was a mess, but every day the podcast is a big help. Surrounding myself with people that are good and just being honest with myself.”
In the past Jason reportedly recounted his bottom hitting after waking up on Christmas morning 2003 to find that he had started a fire after falling asleep near a lit candle while on heroin. Mewes returned to New Jersey, where he was given the choice of attending 6 months of court-mandated rehab or a year in jail.
In a July 2006 interview he reported that he was sober, and harbored no urges to drink or use drugs, but he relapsed in 2009 after having surgery.
Jason expressed that keeping himself accountable to others is a huge part of his program, and that he is tempted at times so he resorts to sharing his thoughts and feelings with those closest to him and telling on himself before anything happens to stay accountable to those around him.
Beyond that he spoke about how his work was a big part of his sobriety, and how important it was that he commit to it. When talking about his podcast and the roll it played in his sobriety, he said:
“I just feel like that has been a big difference for me being honest with everyone who listens to the podcast. I’ve been really accountable. I go into a Starbucks and someone will be like, “Hey man, I listen to your podcast. How many days do you have sober?” I’m literally accountable to all these people and out of the blue someone could ask me.”
However he has apparently been clean since June 28th, 2010.
Asked in a recent interview how long he was clean Jay responded with a resounding 1785 days! That is huge for a guy who got famous playing a guy who seemed like he was stuck on drugs for life. Sometimes you hear the term ‘chronic relapser’ and think ‘how hopeless can it get?’ Well the fact that a guy who plays one of the world’s biggest pot-heads in movies has been sober nearly 5 years is amazing, and if you’re wondering if it’s possible, ask this dude!
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Sometimes the people you least expect can carry a powerful and positive message about how even though addiction held them back, recovery changed their life. A life in sobriety can be far more fulfilling and exciting than people assume, and it starts with choosing to make a change. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Addiction is not a word that is limited to drugs and alcohol. Addiction is a powerful and illusive illness that comes in several forms, which include behavioral health issues that sometimes can fly under the radar as a result of being more socially acceptable.
Gambling addiction is an impulse-control disorder, because there is a complete lack of control over the urge to gamble once it takes hold. Those who struggle with gambling addiction are in the grips of a progressive illness, and a recent study is being done in New Jersey that hopefully can make some notable conclusions regarding the way it affects the general public.
New Money in New Jersey
Since November 25th 2013, internet gambling has become legalized in the state of New Jersey. With internet gambling in the state of New Jersey beginning to generate a considerable amount of discussion, not to mention a lavish payout of more than $102 million in increased tax revenues. The new gambling income has shown a significant amount, though also considered less than the $200 million predicted by the New Jersey Department of the Treasury and Gov. Chris Christie.
Eight other states have legislation pending that would allow Internet gambling. Delaware and Nevada began offering some online gambling this year, but New Jersey is considered the first true test case because it allows a full range of casino games, not just poker, and its much larger population allows for a more in-depth look at how the internet gambling market will be able to flourish.
This new industry has created a growing community of Internet gambling in New Jersey, and that community was launched by the state as a means of aiding the state’s faltering casino industry, which has been in decline since 2006.
Four casinos in Atlantic City, including the Trump Plaza, have actually been closed for business this year. Internet gambling is also legal in Delaware and New Jersey, though neither state has launched any studies to determine the impact of the decision, positive or otherwise, of increased access to betting on its constitutes.
New Study in New Jersey
Rutgers University is now making a considerable attempt to measure the impact of Internet gambling on addictive behaviors. Funded by the state Division of Gaming Enforcement and health department, the three-year study will generate an estimated cost of around $1.2 million, but Lia Nower, professor and director from the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers’ School of Social Work, says it will allow researchers to,
“identify what type of person chooses this very private form of gambling, who develops problems, and how those problems are different from other forms of gambling,”
The survey will initially interview:
- 1,500 adult New Jersey residents by phone
- 2,000 residents via the Internet
The interviews will collect information from the citizens about their personal gambling behavior and Internet gambling. After which the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers’ School of Social Work will then provide four yearly reports to Governor Christie based on statistical analysis of betting behaviors.
The Underlying Issues
With the results of this new study still pending, and the market not making as much money as initially anticipated, the question may be does this new internet gambling industry have a potential to create a surge in gambling addiction, and if not, what about internet addiction?
Even if the revenue is not there on the books of these online casinos, is this new wave of internet gambling going to help contribute to the growth of the underlying issues here, which are not only gambling addiction, but internet addiction as two separate behavioral health problems that in this capacity can feed off of each other.
More is being done elsewhere so that internet addiction is being taken more seriously while ‘Generation D’ texts, tweets and tags its way through social media and online entities. With gambling addiction already being taken into consideration, what more will be discovered about the developing habits attached to these from the New Jersey statistics?
Impulse-control disorders like compulsive gambling addiction usually go hand in hand with other addictions or compulsions, and it is a wonder if online gambling will also contribute to internet addiction. Often times those who have a gambling addiction can also abuse alcohol and other substances, all to deal with more personal issues. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
When we discuss the ‘true cost of the heroin epidemic,’ we’re not talking about fiscal dollars, although that is a factor in this latest chapter of American tragic history.
We’ve reported on the toll heroin is taking all over the country: from New Jersey, to Vermont, to Ohio, and now Oregon, Colorado, and who-knows-where else.
Heroin is spreading like wildfire across America. And the toll on our communities is evident. Indeed we are paying some steep prices for the heroin epidemic.
In Butler County, Ohio, 911 calls for heroin overdose are so common that the seasoned EMS coordinator compares the situation to “coming in and eating breakfast — you just kind of expect it to occur.” And the resources just aren’t available: a local rehab facility has a six-month wait.
Butler County’s Sherriff Richard Jones admits, “There are so many residual effects. And we’re all paying for it.”
Besides the more obvious problem: the spike in heroin-related overdoses and fatal overdoses, the heroin epidemic has all kinds of tragic fall-out. Families are being torn apart as more and more children are being forced into the already overloaded foster care system. Crime is on the rise as the desperate drug-addicted people are turning to criminal acts – shoplifting is particularly popular – to support their insatiable habit.
The Heroin Epidemic: Shocking Statistics
It’s true, there are other drugs out there being abused but, heroin’s rapid escalation is, to say the least, troubling. Just last month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said of the 45% increase in heroin-related overdose deaths between 2006 and 2010 that it’s an “urgent and growing public health crisis.”
In 2007, an estimated 373,000 people were using heroin in the U.S. By 2012, that number was 669,000, with the 18 to 25 age bracket seeing the greatest increase in users. Astonishingly, the number of first-time heroin users nearly doubled in a six-year period, from 90,000 to 156,000 people.
We know why this is happening: experts note that many opiate users turned to heroin after the “pill mill” crackdown, making painkillers like OxyContin harder to find and much more expensive. For example, on the street, a gram of prescription opiates might cost upwards of $1,000 whereas that same gram of heroin will sell for $100.
Heroin is More Powerful Today
Heroin today is more fatal because it’s either extremely pure or laced with other powerful narcotics, such as the latest batch of deadly heroin, known to be cut with fentanyl – an equally powerful opiate. That, coupled with a low tolerance once people start using again after treatment, is what oftentimes leads to the fatal overdoses in fresh from treatment addicts.
Heroin Epidemic: Users are Getting Younger and Younger
One Butler County school recently referred an 11-year-old boy who was shooting up heroin intravenously.
Portland, OR’s Central City Concern, a mentor program in Portland, OR says of its clients that, in 2008, 25% of them were younger than 35. Last year that shot up to 40%.
“I thought my suburban, middle-class family was immune to drugs such as this,” says Valerie Pap, who lost her son, Tanner, at age 21 to heroin in 2012 in Anoka County, MI, and speaks out to help others. “I’ve come to realize that we are not immune. … Heroin will welcome anyone into its grasp.”
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
When you are using drugs and alcohol and can’t stop, it can be scary and hard to get out of the grips of the powerful disease of addiction. I’ve seen people die from this disease many times and never get a chance towards recovery. If you are looking for help from your addiction, drug and alcohol treatment in Clinton, NJ could save your life.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Clinton, NJ: Detox
First and foremost, you have to get the drugs and alcohol out of your body physically before you can actually do any type of treatment. At drug and alcohol treatment in Clinton, NJ, they will make sure you go through the proper detoxification prior to starting your therapy. You will get a drug test, then they will figure out which approach to take to wean you off of the substances you were abusing. You will be monitored and watched closely to make sure you are safe and not in too much pain. They will keep you until you are medically cleared to leave the detox facility.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Clinton, NJ: Treatment
Once you have been medically cleared and no longer have the substances in your body, you can go to the next phase of the process which is treatment. Drug and alcohol treatment in Clinton, NJ will first meet with you and ask you some questions to find out more about you and your history. You will be assigned a therapist for your case, given a treatment plan and have a place of residency at the treatment center. In treatment, they frequently take you to 12-step meetings, show you the life skills to live your life like a functioning member of society and show you how to have fun again. Rehab is about learning how to be sober but also learning that your life has just started!
Drug and Alcohol Treatment in Clinton, NJ: IOP, Halfway & Meetings
The second phase in drug and alcohol treatment in Clinton, NJ is to go into the IOP program. IOP stands for intensive outpatient; this is where you no longer live on property but still have therapy sessions at the treatment center. It is usually a good idea to also live in a halfway house during this time. A halfway house will hold you accountable for your actions and behavior and require you do normal everyday things such as: pay rent, have a job, pass drug tests, clean up after yourself, make your bed, go to meetings, get a sponsor and work a program of recovery.
Drug and alcohol treatment in Clinton, NJ is the perfect place to get you started on the early part of your recovery journey and headed down the right path. Once you’ve left rehab, it’s your decision whether or not to continue in your sobriety and the best way to do that is to get involved in the recovery community. Going to meetings changed my life and I know that I wouldn’t have stayed sober if I didn’t. Being involved in the fellowship, working a program and helping others is what keeps me sober every day! If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.