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Sunday, April 14, 2024

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Treatment in Elizabeth, New Jersey

Like everywhere else in the United States, Elizabeth, New Jersey is a victim of substance abuse and all the problems that come with it.

According to reports made by substance abuse treatment providers to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, as of May 2017, there were 76,509 treatment admissions for alcohol and drug abuse as well as 74,291 discharges in 2016.

These reports, submitted through the New Jersey Substance Abuse Monitoring System, revealed that heroin and alcohol (33,147 and 20,880 admissions) were the top two substances leading to treatment admissions while marijuana ranked third with 10,979 admissions.

According to news reports, the leading cause of accidental death in the state of New Jersey is drug overdose. Since 2004, there have been close to 6,000 deaths caused by drug overdoses and in the last ten years, there has been a 700% increase in admission to drug treatment programs. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, there are several reputed treatment centers in Elizabeth, New Jersey that you can choose from.

Marijuana Laws in New Jersey

For the past few years, there have been dramatic changes in state laws for marijuana across the US. Some states have legalized medical marijuana while others have continued to outlaw the drug altogether. This is one of the reasons why keeping track of relevant laws in your state can be difficult.

State marijuana laws are generally significantly less severe than those state laws that prohibit heroin, cocaine and other such hard drugs. Marijuana laws in New Jersey allow for the use of medical marijuana, but there are also mandatory minimum penalties for sale and/or non-medical use of the drug.

For example, if you have a doctor’s recommendation or prescription, you are allowed to possess up to 2 ounces of the substance per month. However, if you have non-medical possession of marijuana of that same amount, you can be charged for a felony which is punishable by 18 months of jail time.

Details of marijuana laws in New Jersey (24:21-1, et seq.; 2C:35-2, et seq. of the New Jersey criminal code), including classifications of crimes and penalties are as follows:


  • Under 50 grams – disorderly person punishable by up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 fine. If the culprit is caught for possession of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, the punishment is 100 hours of community service along with an additional fine.
  • Over 50 grams – felony charge punishable by up to 18 months in jail plus a fine of $25,000.


  • Less than 1 ounce – 4th degree crime punishable by up to 18 months in jail with a $25,000 fine.
  • 1 ounce to 5 pounds – 3rd degree crime punishable by 3 to 5 years jail time and $25,000 fine.
  • 5 to 25 pounds – 2nd degree crime punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison with a fine of $150,000.
  • Over 25 pounds – 1st degree crime punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of $300,000.


  • Leader of narcotics trafficking network – punishable by life sentence (a minimum of 25 years before parole) and/or a fine of $500,000.

State laws are constantly changing so it is a judicious idea to conduct a legal research or contact a drug crime attorney so you can verify the laws in your state.

Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment in the Criminal Justice System

As we all know, drug abuse and addiction is one of the primary causes of the increase in crime rates not only in the United States but all over the world. Although there is increasing evidence showing that addiction is a disease of the brain that can be treated, most people do not receive treatment.

People get involved in the criminal justice system often due to illegal drug-seeking behavior and taking part in illegal activities that partly reflect disrupted behavior that ensues from changes in the brain triggered by repeated drug use.

Treating offenders involved in drugs provide a unique opportunity to reduce drug abuse as well as decrease associated criminal behavior. There is potential in emerging neuroscience to make changes in traditional sanction-oriented approaches for public safety by providing new therapeutic strategies to fight addiction and these strategies could be effectively used in the criminal justice system.

Relevant findings in neuroscience and evidence-based addiction treatment principles could help in improving public health and safety and reduce criminal behavior if implemented in the criminal justice system.

On its own, punishment is both an ineffective and futile response to drug abuse and fails as an intervention for public safety for offenders whose criminal behavior has a direct relation to drug use. It is important to remember that addiction is a chronic brain disease that has a strong genetic component that in the majority of instances requires treatment.

The increasing number of drug-abusing offenders highlights the urgent need to provide treatments for populations that are involved in the criminal justice system in New Jersey and across the country. It also provides a unique opportunity to provide intervention for people who otherwise would not seek treatment for their drug addiction.

Marijuana Abuse: Signs and Symptoms and Effects

Marijuana refers to the cannabis sativa’s flowers, leaves and extracts, as well as several other plant species that are closely related, commonly known as hemp. Marijuana is, if not the most, one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in the US glorified in movies like The Big Lebowski which was hilarious and Pineapple Express. It is known by a number of different names including grass, weed, hash, pot, cannabis, and many others. It is widely grown all over the world and it is also the only major recreational drug that is grown within the United States.

Signs and Symptoms

There are a number of effects that marijuana intoxication produces, including:

  • Euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Relaxation
  • Impaired memory
  • Altered sense of time
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Impaired motor skills and slowed reflexes
  • Increased appetite
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Paranoia
  • Increased heart rate

Factors that Determine the Potency and Effects of Marijuana

There are over 60 related psychoactive chemicals, known as cannabinoids, in marijuana. Of these, the most abundant is what is commonly known as THC – delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. The amount of THC that an individual ingests when they use the drug determines the intensity of the high.

The potency of different marijuana strains is a result of the THC level they contain, varying on average between 3 and 20%. Industrial hemp varieties, used to make rope and textiles, contain little to no THC, meaning that it does not produce a demonstrable high.

Dried marijuana is smoked most often, but it can also be infused in different foods and eaten. Marijuana extracts rich in THC are growing increasingly popular as well, including a hard, brittle preparation that is given the name “shatter” and hash oil. Extracts like these are particularly dangerous because users can ingest extremely large amounts of THC very quickly.

The precise effects experienced by an individual depend on:

  • The amount of marijuana consumed
  • The potency of the marijuana
  • The method of ingestion

Smoking makes an individual intoxicated within minutes and the effects it produces are fairly predictable from one time to the next.

THC is absorbed by the body more slowly when an individual eats marijuana-infused foods. Intoxication begins from 30 minutes to 2 hours after the food is ingested, and it can be difficult for the user to predict the effects.

Effects of Marijuana Abuse

In addition to intoxicating effects that are both positive and negative, marijuana abuse can also have negative effects on the physical and mental health of an individual, especially in someone who uses the drug for a long period of time.

Some of the long-term negative effects of marijuana use include:

  • Cardiovascular Risk: Ingesting marijuana causes the heart rate to increase for several hours, which increases the chance of stroke or heart attack. This may cause aggravation of pre-existing heart conditions in long-term marijuana users and older people, increasing their risk of a cardiovascular event.
  • Respiratory Problems: Smoke produced by marijuana has a number of the irritants as well as lung-damaging properties as is smoke from tobacco. Long-term marijuana users are prone to contract and suffer from chronic cough and are at higher risk of infections of the lung.
  • Mental Health Effects: Long-term use of marijuana can lower the performance of an individual on memory-related tasks and result in a decrease in interest and motivation in performing daily activities. The drug is also known to intensify symptoms in schizophrenic users.
  • Psychological Dependence: Like the majority of abused drugs, long-term marijuana users can develop a dependence on it. The need to use marijuana in order to cope with daily chores and activities and experiencing anxiety and cravings when the drug is unavailable are just a few of the signs of dependence in a user.
  • Child Development: Using marijuana during pregnancy can have an effect on the development of the fetus’ brain. It’s also been found to have a link to behavioral problems in babies.

Synthetic Marijuana and Its Dangers

Brands of man made synthetic compounds highly similar to cannabis are given the name synthetic marijuana. Until recent times, smoke shops sold these substances, labeled as incense.

Both local and national governments have moved to make it illegal to use and sell synthetic marijuana. While research on the addictiveness of this substance is still ongoing, early indications are that synthetic marijuana is an extremely addictive substance and has serious withdrawal effects.

Synthetic cannabinoids are designed to act as an alternative to regular marijuana. However, there is a major difference in the chemical makeup of both these substances. Manufacturers spray synthetics onto an unknown plant material to be smoked. Some also use the chemical liquid as a vapor with e-cigarettes. This practice is dangerous as the exact chemicals used in the compound are not known.

Manufacturers often market synthetic marijuana as a legal and safe alternative to marijuana. The original common brand names that manufacturers gave these substances were ‘K-2’ and ‘Spice’. Over time, they have evolved into a large number of other brands and names.

Synthetic marijuana labeling clearing states that it is not for consumption. These are mere words as the substance is intended to be smoked like marijuana and the warning also absolves manufacturers of responsibility. While the exact place where these products are manufactured are not known, there is evidence pointing to online markets from China and herbs that are found in Central America.

Effects of Synthetic Marijuana on the Brain

The interaction of synthetic products with the brain is very similar to marijuana. THC present in cannabis binds itself to receptors in the brain, which then creates altered perceptions and gives you a sense of relaxation. Because the substance is still relatively new, definitive research and studies are still yet to be produced to determine its exact effects on the brain. It is indicated in some studies, that there are stronger THC compounds in certain formulations.

The unknown formulation of chemical compounds is what makes synthetic cannabinoids dangerous. When they use synthetic marijuana, individuals are at their own risk and they may ingest something that causes harm or is even more addictive in these formulations.

Effects on Health

Its many adverse health effects are another danger associated with using synthetic marijuana. Users can experience a number of psychotic behaviors such as hallucinations, extreme anxiety and paranoia. Other emergency reactions that have been reported include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Kidney damage
  • Violent behaviors
  • Suicidal ideation

Addiction is the severe health risk that comes with regular synthetic marijuana use. The brain becomes dependent on the use or abuse of the substance. When people try to stop taking it, they can experience withdrawal symptoms. Some of the reported withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depressive episodes

Treatment for Addiction to Synthetic Marijuana

Treatment for synthetic marijuana addiction can involve a detoxification process and constant monitoring to make sure that any and all withdrawal symptoms that may arise are addressed.

Since synthetic cannabinoids are a new substance, there is no research as yet that indicates the best approach of behavioral therapies or treatments for the addiction. Still, it is likely that an integrated drug rehabilitation program will be highly effective in treating individuals struggling with addiction to synthetic marijuana. The program should include dual diagnosis so that treatment providers can address the mental disorders that can coexist with addiction to drugs.

Marijuana Detox Treatment Program

While marijuana users can detox from home, there are some who prefer going to a detoxification facility to do so. The professionals working in these addiction programs can help marijuana-dependent patients stay safe and comfortable during the withdrawal process. Getting detox in a professional setting can also help in preventing patients from relapsing during this critical time.

You should keep in mind that treatment for marijuana dependency does not end with detox. Rather, it is after you successfully complete detox that it starts. You can increase your chances of recovering successfully from addiction to marijuana by engaging in ongoing treatment.

Because there are no approved medications to specifically manage addiction to marijuana, behavioral therapies are usually used to treat it. Therapies that have shown to be highly successful include:

  • Contingency Management: This type of approach encourages healthy behavior, like abstinence from drugs, using tangible rewards such as prizes or vouchers. It is a simple yet effective approach to the treatment of marijuana addiction, as well as other drugs.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Education and counseling are used in this treatment to help people recovering from addiction to marijuana and other substances. The education and counseling are used to help patients recognize the dangerous behaviors that they engage in and counter them with safer and healthier choices.
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy: This is a behavioral treatment that helps patients recovering from drug addiction in setting concrete personal goals that they will be motivated to achieve. Counselors help the recovering addicts in formulating a plan to meet those goals.

Can Medications Help?

At present, there are no medications approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat dependence or addiction to marijuana. However, some clinical trials of several drugs have been conducted to find out if they can help in relieving withdrawal symptoms, including sleep aids, anti-anxiety drugs, mood, stabilizers, anti-seizure drugs, antidepressants, and THC replacements. Of the drugs that have been tested, the most promising results have been seen in:

  • Buspirone, the anti-anxiety medication (BuSpar)
  • Zolpidem, the sleep aid (Ambien)
  • Gabapentin, the anti-convulsant drug (Neurontin)

These drugs help in relieving the anxiety and insomnia that comes with withdrawal symptoms you experience when stopping its use. In the case of gabapentin, it can also effectively help in improving your ability to think clearly while going through withdrawal. It is important to note that studies on these treatments are still going on to determine if they can be effectively used in the treatment of withdrawal from marijuana dependence. 

Processes Before Entering a Drug Treatment Program or Facility

Before you enter a drug addiction treatment program or center, you will be required to go through a pre-intake and intake process. These are pre-assessment steps in which you provide information to the treatment providers.

Pre-Intake Process

Pre-intake is a simple process where you fill out a form and provide the addiction treatment providers with necessary personal items and documents – they will give you a list of the items and documents you will be required to bring.

The pre-intake may be simple, but it is a critical part of addiction treatment. Not all addicts go through the same road to recovery and there is no drug addiction treatment or rehab program that works for everyone. The pre-intake process helps you find the right program or allows treatment providers to tailor a treatment plan that addresses your specific needs so that your chances of recovering from your addiction successfully is increased.

Intake Process

The intake process is one in which you and the treatment providers have a discussion before there are any initial consultations. Taking up to two hours to complete, this is the process that allows the drug treatment center to find out about your addiction, background, lifestyle, and dependency issues more accurately.

This is also the best time for you to ask any questions you might have, about your addiction as well as the treatment plan or program, and communicate any concerns that you may have.

During the intake process, you will be asked a number of questions, including:

  • Why and when did you decide to enter a drug treatment or rehab center?
  • When did you use drugs for the first time?
  • What are the drugs you use? How often do you use them?
  • How has your life been affected by your drug addiction?
  • What is your history of medical and mental health? Are you taking any medications for any condition?
  • What is your employment history?
  • What is your financial situation?
  • What is your home and family life like (if it is like how those kids were living in The Wire in the first season that is not good!)?
  • Have you entered a rehab or undergone drug addiction treatment before?

These questions allow addiction treatment providers to get a glimpse of your history and the factors that may have resulted in your drug dependency. This helps them learn exactly what you need and to customize a treatment plan that addresses your specific issues and needs, and ensure that you receive effective treatment for your addiction.

Types of Drug Treatment Centers

There are two types of drug treatment programs – inpatient and outpatient treatment centers or programs. The best one for you depends on your particular case, which is why the pre-intake and intake processes are important.

Inpatient Treatment: When you are struggling with drug addiction, an inpatient drug treatment center may be the right solution for you. This type of treatment provides the tools and intense therapy that is required to overcome addiction successfully.

An inpatient drug treatment center is one where you live with other addicts and receive 24/7 care from trained and experienced professionals. There are hospitals that offer inpatient facilities where there are medical professionals to provide round-the-clock care to patients.

Inpatient treatment centers provide daily therapy and counseling. In many of these centers, there are 12-step recovery support programs that you will be required to attend. Group meetings, providing peer support and recovery advice are a part of these programs and can be effective as you work on the steps with others struggling with drug addiction. If you prefer, you can flip the switch for inpatient treatment programs that offer alternative support groups that do not use any 12-step program.

Outpatient Treatment: In an outpatient treatment program, you are required to attend drug treatment sessions on scheduled days throughout the week. This means that you can live at home and take care of the responsibilities you have. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that you will need to check in at allotted times for counseling and medication.

There are different formats and intensity levels in an outpatient drug treatment program. There are also a wide range of services that you can benefit from as you make your way to recovering from addiction to marijuana. The main focus is on education, counseling and ensuring that every patient gets a network of support in this type of program.

Aftercare and Support

It is essential to remember that your treatment for drug addiction does not end when you step out of a treatment or rehab center. Aftercare plays an important role in your roads to recovery. No matter what treatment provider, you go to or what methods are used to treat your addiction, aftercare programs share the same goals:

  • Helping patients maintain their recovery from drug abuse and addiction
  • Finding a number of different methods to help patients in effectively preventing relapse
  • Helping patients achieve a healthy, drug-free life

Aftercare programs encourage family and friends to provide patients with support as they leave the drug treatment center and return to their normal lives. This is a fundamental part of recovering from any addiction successfully. With support from the program and loved ones, recovering addicts can be better motivated to live a clean and healthy lifestyle.

Drug Treatment Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey

If you or a loved one is struggling with marijuana dependence or addiction to any other type of drug, it is important to seek help from a reputed drug treatment center in Elizabeth, New Jersey as soon as possible. The sooner you receive treatment, the better your chances of recovering.

With the right treatment program, you can make sure that you recover from your addiction and prevent going back to the same vicious cycle that comes with addiction to any drug. You are sure to find a drug treatment facility that offers a program that suits your specific needs and helps ensure that you receive the help and support you need to live a clean, healthy life once more.