Friday, December 2, 2022

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The Borough of Hawthorne: Heroin On It’s Doorstep

Nestled away within the New Jersey lies a small town called The Borough of Hawthorne. It is what a population of 18,941 call home and is said to be named after the novelist, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Locals love the small town feel and are warmed by its tight knit community. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that the borough is 81 percent safer than other U.S. cities, has an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent and a median level income of $85,314. For an individual or family looking for the “small town feel”, the Borough of Hawthorne is a great place to live.

Found in Passaic County, Hawthorne and surrounding areas like Prospect Park, North Haledon and Paterson have great touring sites such as The Cliffs at Valhalla (a huge place for inside rock climbing), The Winemakers Cellar (where one can learn how to make wine using old winemaking traditions), Goffle Brook Park (a great place to see American Revolutionary War sites like the John George Ryerson House site) and The Bottarga Restaurant (once known as the John Francis Ryerson House).

New Jersey is filled with American Revolutionary sites. There are so many towns where tourists can view landmarks and peruse museums. It’s a great place to take the kids to for a history lesson or for a history buff to put on their bucket list. The state is packed full of scenic spots for hiking and camping. It’s just a beautiful place to visit.

Alternatively, The Garden State is also facing an epidemic unlike any other state, a drug crisis. Specifically, heroin and prescription drugs. In fact, prescription drugs accounted for 16,600 deaths last year and heroin accounted for 3,000 in all of the U.S. In the Borough of Hawthorne, 42 percent of the population does heroin while 36 percent of it drinks alcohol, another common addiction in America. Passaic County recorded 1,501 patients admitted due to heroin and 776 patients due to alcohol in 2016.

The drug problem in Hawthorne strongly exists because of its neighboring city, Paterson. Paterson is referred to as the “drug capital of America” due to it’s large heroin problem. New Jersey has some of the cheapest, purist heroin for the low cost of $5. Because of it’s low cost, teens are hooked on the drug too. In fact, drugs and alcohol has increased by 70 percent in Paterson schools.

State officials are trying to crack down on the problem of heroin. Recently, 11,794 bags of heroin and 1200 grams of raw heroin were seized. Two heroin mills were also shut down. The thing is, is when two mills go down, another four or more are constructed. For every bag seized, many more enter the country. It is hard to get ahead of problem that abysmally outweighs you.

Heroin isn’t used in secret alleyways anymore either. This isn’t 1979. Successful executives are using the drug in their office, moms are using it in their bathrooms at home during naptime and as stated above, teens are using the drug to get high too.

It is a huge problem when it comes to teens because it’s so easy to get. In fact, New Jersey has the 6th highest fatal youth overdoses in the United States. Friends can get it from their parents or from friends that they know and so on. It’s just a domino effect. That domino structure can fall, if more people are willing to go into drug rehabilitation.

There are many places within the Borough of Hawthorne and its surrounding areas to find help with drug addiction. Inpatient and Outpatient treatment centers provide the detox and therapy needed to kick the addiction and get one’s life back on track.

It’s all about taking that first step toward the healing process. Let’s look at what the healing process looks like.


When deciding that it’s time to get help and start the road to recovery from addiction, an assessment is the first thing that happens within a drug rehabilitation center. This can also be referred to as a pre-intake or an intake. The assessment period can be thought of as an interview since many questions will be asked. These questions will cover drug use, family and mental health history and usually, a physical examination and some lab tests such as a drug test is required. Financial arrangements might also be made during this time too. There is a doctor and/or psychologist present during this part of the healing process and it will be either one of them that is asking the questions. The assessment is meant to get a true understanding of the addiction that someone is facing so that they can provide the most efficient treatment for healing. It is important for one’s recovery to provide the truest information.

A drug test will show if there are any drugs in the system at the time of the assessment. If drugs are present, detoxification will be necessary. If no drugs are present, the doctor may recommend a behavioral health program.


Now that the interview section of the assessment is over, the patient has either been sent to a therapy program or to detoxification, more commonly referred to as detox. Detox is a process of cleansing the body of all drugs. This can be a lengthy process and for many people, it can be a very difficult one too. When a person does drugs, their brain gets used to that “feel good” feeling and starts to really rely on it. The brain being such a powerhouse can force a person to believe they are ultimately depressed, worthless and broken. Without the influx of drugs, the brain continues to tell the body that it feels awful. The body naturally believes the brain and withdrawal happens. Withdrawal is the worst part of the rehabilitation process for many people due to its symptoms.

These symptoms include:

  • Cramping
  • Depression/Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Anger/Confusion
  • Blurred Vision
  • Muscle Pain
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Shaking

In some severe cases, symptoms can include a stroke or heart attack. Withdrawal is always supervised and there is medical staff available if something goes wrong. A doctor may also decide to give a patient a medication to help with the symptoms as well such as barbiturates, methadone, etc.

This can feel like a very scary part of the rehabilitation process, but it should never keep a person from enduring it because it is necessary to get to the next step. 

Every person is unique, and withdrawal will feel different for anyone who goes through it. The severity of the symptoms also depends on several different factors such as:

  • How many different drugs the patient is taking
  • The length of time a person has been taking drugs
  • The amount of drugs ingested each time
  • What the mental health status of the patient is

The answers to these questions changes up the withdrawal symptoms for a patient drastically so just because one person has a hard detox doesn’t mean that another person will too.

Inpatient/Outpatient Treatment

There are two types of treatment options when it comes to the next step of the rehabilitation process.

Inpatient Treatment is most often called RTC (Residential Treatment Center) because it takes place in the facility, which means the patient will be living inside the facility during their healing process. This could be 90, 60, 30 days or even a shorter time frame, it all depends on what is recommended by the doctor.

Inpatient Treatment is all about processing an addiction, learning where it came from, how to ward off possible triggers and how to cope with life after rehab. There are times for individual, group and family therapy. Many facilities also introduce some type of creative outlet such as painting or a physical outlet such as yoga. Meditation is also something that many rehabilitation centers are providing to help calm the mind and center in on recovering.

There are some luxury inpatient rehab centers that are plusher like a spa and executive rehab centers that allow business professionals to continue working while recovering.

Outpatient Treatment works a little bit differently because a patient does not have to stay in-house. Outpatient provides the option of getting treatment at the facility and then returning home. There are two types: PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) and IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program).

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) takes place in the facility for 6 hours a day, 5-7 times a week. It involves group, family and individual therapy while also focusing on the coping skills and different things that can be done to ward off addictive behavior.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) also takes place in a facility but it can sometimes take place in a smaller facility than the one that RTC or PHP takes place in. IOP is typically recommended by a doctor or psychologist after RTC and PHP have been completed, as a last stage of the treatment process. It usually takes place 3 days a week for 3 hours a day.

These treatment options are highly focused on therapy, so it is important to take all the time that is needed to process.


Once Inpatient and Outpatient treatment have successfully taken place, it is time to think about aftercare. Any drug or alcohol addiction professional will say that recovery is a lifetime goal. Just because a patient has been released with a clean bill of health does not mean that they are fully cured of addiction. Addiction tendencies are still all around any patient that leaves rehab and it is very easy to relapse, if one is not careful. It is important to take necessary precautions and that is where aftercare comes in. Before leaving rehab or while in PHP or IOP, there should have been some form of list that was made on coping skills. This list is important when it comes to the desire to drink or use drugs. Also, a list of support groups was probably handed out as well. If not, there are many ways to get a listing. The internet provides great resources for local groups and so will the facility a patient has been released from. Recovery groups like AA or NA are great options for people who need support. People in support groups are there for that reason alone, to get support. There is no shame in reaching out for help and there are so many people willing to help. There are also sponsors who will make themselves available, day and night. These support groups are the very foundation on what continuous recovery is built on.

Another great option is to keep busy by introducing new hobbies that provide happiness such as bowling, cooking, painting, etc. Find something that allows for steady movement. People who have time to lie around are perfect candidates for sadness and depressive thoughts that can lead to drugs and/or alcohol.

Sometimes going at it alone in the beginning, fresh out of rehab is just too hard. There is no shame in that. Colts and fawns struggle to walk when they are first born too. That is what recovery is, being reborn again into a new life. The old life, that is gone and there is no getting it back. From the day that a person steps into a rehabilitation center and starts treatment, their life has changed and every moment beyond that is a process that leads to a means to an end, rebirth. What a person decides to do with that, is all on that person. However, Sober Living Houses are more of an effective way to stay clean and sober for a lot of recovering addicts. Sober Living Houses allow people to get a job while living in house with other recovering addicts and usually some sort of sponsor that can help one stay on track. It’s a great way to stay clean and sober while rebuilding one’s life.

With heroin becoming such a huge problem in New Jersey, it’s time to make a stand and fight against addiction. It can start by getting help or getting help for someone who is addicted right way. Don’t wait because tomorrow might not be there.