By: ATSI Admin
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New Jersey’s Heroin Problem Rages On
This week, a New Jersey dad dropped off his two-year-old son at daycare. Later that day, a daycare employee found 48 packets of heroin inside the child’s jacket. The father has been charged with child endangerment and is being held on $85,000 bail.  This horrible news story presents an opportunity to shed light on the deadly drug that is heroin, and the fact it’s a rampant problem in New Jersey.
Heroin Abuse In the Garden State
In 2012, heroin and other opiates made up 44 percent of all substance abuse treatment admissions .
Of all illicit drugs, heroin is perhaps the most addictive and deadly. With statewide heroin mills, assembly lines and narcotics networks, and because of its close proximity to the drug hubs of New York City and Philadelphia, NJ is among the states with the cheapest and most readily available heroin. In 2013, heroin reached ‘epidemic’ proportions across the state; Camden City averages one heroin-related fatality every 10 days; and there were 112 heroin-related fatalities in Ocean County in 2013, up from 53 the year before. 
The Deadly Dangers of Heroin
Heroin is a Schedule I depressant and opiate derived from the poppy plant. It is called a depressant, or “downer,” because it blocks the brain’s ability to feel pain while triggering the body’s reward center. Because of its immediate feelings of extreme euphoria upon use, heroin is one of the most addictive and deadliest drugs in the world.
Heroin is primarily injected into the bloodstream. Over 70 percent of new hepatitis C2 infections every year are found among drug users who use needles, and users also put themselves at risk of contracting HIV from sharing needles. Long-term effects of heroin use include a myriad of physical and mental health conditions, including:
- Respiratory problems
- Liver disease
- Collapsed veins
- Partial paralysis
- Memory loss
- Weakened immune system
- Fatal overdose
Additionally, heroin withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that users often completely avoid quitting so as not to experience withdrawal. If just a few hours go by without using, intense cravings, cold flashes, diarrhea and vomiting can all occur.
As of February of 2014, at least nine people died or were hospitalized in New Jersey after overdosing on fentanyl-laced heroin.  Fentanyl is a synthetic form of morphine (yet 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine) used to treat end-stage cancer patients, or as an anesthesia. However, many New Jersey heroin users have caught onto fentanyl to increase the effects of heroin, thus doubling down on the risks of an already deadly drug; just a small amount of fentanyl alone can stop someone from breathing.
The Power of Treatment
The journey to recovery may not be easy, but living a life free of heroin is truly possible—and it’s worth every step. Our clients participate in counseling with our licensed therapists, and a customized therapy program that works to address the underlying causes of addiction and provide the tools needed to stay clean and sober. Components of ATSI treatment include:
- Individual and group therapy
- Community-based support groups
- Relapse prevention services
- Family care
- Spirituality programming
- Comprehensive aftercare
Heroin is a terrifying drug, but treatment makes it possible to wake up from the nightmare. If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin, please pick up the phone and call us today.
 USA Today
 NJ AIDSLine