Addiction Problems and Recovery Solutions in Eatontown, NJ
Eatontown, New Jersey has long been combatting heroin and prescription opioids amidst a rising number of overdose deaths, but the town has developed some effective ways of dealing with the problem of addiction.
With a population of a little more than 12,000, Eatontown, a borough in Monmouth County, is one of the smaller cities in New Jersey. The economy is maintained by an even mix of white-collar and blue collar workers, and an unusual portion of Eatontown’s employees work in computers and mathematics.
Denizens of Eatontown are better educated than those in most of American towns, more than a third of the adults holding bachelor’s, masters, and doctoral degrees.
The median income is the same as in the rest of New Jersey, which has among the higher median incomes in the US. But an income disparity—the growing gap between the highest and the lowest incomes—keeps that statistic from looking too rosy.
The crime statistics in Eatontown look a bit puzzling at first; theft is higher than the national average, but burglary and motor vehicle thefts are lower. So who’s doing all the stealing? The answer is clearly white collar criminals, with fraud, embezzlement, and price-fixing heading the list. Shoplifting has also been a problem.
The large stretch of seaside to the west means that the city is a tourist hotbed, but a shoreline means seaports—conduits allowing contraband drugs to enter the state from all over the world. Because of this the town is part of an HIDTA—a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area—and thus eligible for resources to aid the fight against drug crime.
Effects Of The Opioid Epidemic
New Jersey as a whole hasn’t managed to escape the national drug crisis: In 2017 New Jersey drug treatment program admissions were seven times higher than 10 years earlier. Since 2004 the state has seen more than 6000 deaths by overdose. In 2016 Eatonville had 11 deaths by drug overdose, a high number for Monmouth County.
Although cocaine, opioids, and marijuana are popular here, the biggest threat in Eatontown is heroin, which has been taking three times the number of lives than the national average of heroin overdose deaths.
A case in point is the January arrest of two men, one of whom was from Eatontown and the other from nearby Long Branch, who were stopped by Monmouth County Sheriff’s officers on the Garden State Parkway and found to be carrying 1200 bags of heroin—but only 22 grams of cocaine—hidden under the engine compartment in their pickup truck.
Fortunately county officials and activists in Eatonville, Monmouth County, and New Jersey are stepping up to the bat with some original solutions designed to save lives and help addicts.
So What's Being Done?
A high school to aid teen addicts in recovery
One idea whose time has come is a high school where teens with addictions can finish their schooling in an environment designed to help them recover in a safe environment. Monmouth County’s K.E.Y.S. Academy uses space at Brookdale Community College to provide addiction services and counselling along with a conventional education program to help formerly addicted teens complete high school while avoiding the triggers and temptations that lead to the initial dependency. Many parents with children in recovery have come forward to express their gratitude and newfound sense of hope.
In January New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced that he has designated $35 million to combat the drug crisis in the Garden State, directing the funds toward intensive holistic responses to those most severely affected by their dependencies, such as pregnant women, new mothers, and those who’ve developed medical conditions as a result of drug abuse.
National Take Back Day
Back in October Eatontown residents participated in a nationwide program to rid communities of unused and unneeded prescription drugs, preventing them from entering the street and endangering the health of citizens.
The initiative was called “National Take Back Day.” Drop-off sites were set up so that denizens could dispose of their unused prescription drugs, no questions asked. The drugs were later safely destroyed.
Why round up unused drugs? The Drug Enforcement Agency says, “The majority of prescription drug abusers report in surveys that they get their drugs from friends and family. Americans understand that cleaning out old prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers, and bedside tables reduces accidents, thefts, and the misuse and abuse of these medicines, including the opioid painkillers that accounted for 20,808 drug overdoses—78 a day—in 2014 (the most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Eight out of 10 new heroin users began by abusing prescription painkillers and moved to heroin when they could no longer obtain or afford those painkillers.”
We Want To Help
If you or a loved one have a dependency problem, and have decided to do something about it, we’re here to help you. If you’ve relapsed before, don’t let that discourage you—keep trying, and no matter how many times you fail, never quit quitting drugs.
And if you have a loved one who clearly has an addiction problem, we’re here to help them, too, and to assist you in helping them get the resources they need!
Marijuana At The Corner Store? Not On Eatontown's Watch!
Eatontown’s borough council is still discussing whether or not recreational marijuana should be sold legally in their town should the drug be legalized by the state. Mayor Dennis Connelly, who is in favor of medical marijuana, is uncomfortable with allowing it to be sold in stores or other establishments for recreational use. Councilmembers haven’t so far voiced opposition to this view and are preparing for the possibility of legalized marijuana by holding public hearings and planning zoning restrictions to address the town’s best interests.
Most of the other towns around Eatontown hold the same position on commercial sales of recreational marijuana. Recreational marijuana does have its outspoken supporters in Eatontown, but so far they haven’t done much to change prevailing attitudes. And the relatively affluent Eatonville isn’t jumping at the chance to enhance the local economy with marijuana sales.
Heroin overdose antidote
In 2014 first responders in Eatontown and in the rest of Monmouth county began being supplied with Narcan, a heroin overdose antidote, for use in responding to possible overdose emergencies. The drug is administered through the nose, two squirts into the nasal passages effectively shutting down the brain receptors that respond to heroin.
Already in use in several other states, in New Jersey Narcan is being used as a pilot program only in Monmouth and Ocean counties because of the high levels of heroin usage in that region. The drug is being purchased from the state with funds that the prosecutor’s office has seized from organized crime.
Eatontown has been criticized for not having a sterile syringe program, a lack that seems especially puzzling considering the prevalence of heroin use in the town. The state has approved sterile syringe programs in other cities, and so the absence of such programs is a little puzzling.
Drug courts have been set up in New Jersey since 1996, when members of the court system, law enforcement, and substance abuse experts put their heads together to develop special programs for those accused of drug-related crimes, giving them a chance to undergo a recovery program as opposed to a jail sentence.
Four years after the Drug Court’s inception, in May of 2000 the Conference of Criminal Presiding Judges recommended drug courts as a “best practice” in response to drug-related crime, leading the court to expand drug court availability across the state.
The system of New Jersey drug courts focuses on nonviolent offenders who need help recovering from drug dependencies, giving them the tools they need to recover from addiction and to lead crime-free lives.
Once accepted into the drug court program the participants go through four phases:
1. stabilization (around three months)
2. positive change (at least six months)
3. relapse prevention (at least three months)
4. commencement and graduation (after one year of remaining drug-free)
The New Jersey Drug Court system has had a total of 1514 participants since 2012, and 395 of them have successfully completed the program. The program is also alleged responsible for 27 drug-free babies being born to mothers participating in Drug Court and 19 parents regaining custody of their children.
Although there’s no Drug Court in Eatontown proper, the town is served by a Drug Court in the nearby Freehold Township.
Eatontown Addiction Treatment Centers
Addiction counselors, psychiatrists, doctors, nurses, and other professionals in Eatontown or nearby are charged with learning as much as possible about drug and alcohol dependency as well as the peculiar needs of their own community
Personnel generally examine each individual in depth but also take a close look at that person’s context—their environment, history, social surroundings, and unique stressors—in order to determine the course of treatment that will have the greatest likelihood of long-term success. Underlying psychological conditions may also be taken into account in developing an individualized recovery plan.
Each addiction facility in Eatontown has a slightly different intake process, but one can nearly always expect an interview, a medical examination, and a brief period of orientation before entering a program. Participants will also be carefully briefed beforehand and what they can and can’t bring into the facility and which kinds of behaviors will and won’t be tolerated.
Detox, the period in which the body rids itself of all narcotics by means of abstinence from drug and alcohol consumption, is absolutely necessary to the success of any recovery program, because no treatment will work if the individual is still using. Detox programs stabilize and help the addict through withdrawal and then educate them on how to avoid relapse once released.
Detox programs can be found either on their own as 30-day inpatient treatments or as part of long-term residential programs. In most cases, especially in instances where the patient is to be discharged at the end of 30 days, intensive therapy, including education and both group and one-on-one counselling, is provided to help patients avoid relapse.
By most reports a 30 day detox period, although essential, is in itself not as successful in dealing with hardcore addiction as are the longer term residential programs. If one wishes to avoid repeated visits to detox programs it’s recommended to undergo long-term residential treatment.
Inpatient treatments may consist of simply a 30-day detox or a stay lasting three to six months. Residential Treatment Centers (RTCs) are longer term, from six months to a year and even longer, and run programs that address every aspect of life in order to prepare participants for drug-free living on their release. Some of these facilities strive to involve friends and family in the recovery process. Creative arts therapy is also being used in Eatontown facilities.
Some who struggle with addiction are unable for a number of reasons, ranging from financial to family responsibilities, to enter residential treatment, and so outpatient services exist in the form of counselling, group therapy, education, peer support, and medical attention. For those who have not been addicted long and who have a strong determination to succeed, outpatient programs are sometimes enough to get them drug-free
In Eatontown a number of peer support groups exist that have proven very effective in helping even long-term addicts remain clean and sober after having undergone inpatient treatment.
If you’re struggling with addiction in Eatontown, please remember that there are a host of helpers eager to guide you through the painful but ultimately freeing journey of recovery. Talk to other recovered addicts and they’ll all tell you that the pain was well worth it!
Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day, begin the task anew.
~Saint Francis de Sales
Inpatient Treatment (RTC, PHP, IOP)
Inpatient treatment involves residence in a licensed drug and alcohol treatment facility or hospital and consistent supervision and monitoring by a health professional to guide the initial phase of care. This type of care may involve residential treatment, partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient treatment. The type of care provided depends on the results of the assessment, pre-intake, and intake, and plays a critical role in determining rehabilitative outcomes. Inpatient treatment centers in East Orange provide 24-hour drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, as well as assisted living services to help patients eventually take control of their own care.
Outpatient treatment involves the receipt of care for drug and alcohol use without direct or continual supervision in a controlled residential environment. Outpatient treatment can take various forms, including intensive outpatient care, opioid maintenance, non-methadone detoxification, and methadone detoxification. Opioid maintenance represents about 10% of all outpatient care admissions in New Jersey. Outpatient care is also a subsequent phase of inpatient care and can help former residents effectively cope with precursors to relapse, as well as integrate with the community through obtaining employment and a personal residence.
Aftercare and Sober Living
Addictions typically require continued monitoring, and aftercare is available as part of most inpatient and outpatient programs to help offer support to patients as they take the reigns of their recovery process. A primary purpose of aftercare is to prevent relapse, and patients who undergo this process are taught coping skills to help manage environmental contributors to this occurrence. Aftercare commonly involves group counselling, individual therapy, and/or 12-step programs.
Sober living is a philosophy that is promoted throughout recovery and rehabilitation. By the time the aftercare phase of treatment has been reached, patients should be equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to engage in a life of sobriety and free of relapse. Though relapses occur, patients who adopt sober living principles continue to work towards clean living through a combination of self-sufficiency, avoiding situational triggers, and utilizing available community resources to continue to receive treatment and also share with others.