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Drugs and Substance Abuse and Treatment in Jersey City, New Jersey


Despite the economy improving over the years in all of New Jersey, the entire state has a high drug abuse rate. Throughout all of New Jersey, heroin has grown to become a huge problem. In fact, Jersey City ranks as one of the top-10 states for the highest heroin usage, but heroin isn’t the only problem in the area. 

About Jersey City, New Jersey

The population of the city is 264,152, as of 2016. This represents a population increase of 6.7 percent since 2010, which is the greatest increase of all cities in New Jersey. People have flocked to the city despite its well-known high crime rate. Nowadays, the crime rate is still high, and drugs seem to becoming more and more of problem.

Almost half of the city is female while nearly half is male, which doesn’t appear to play a role in the high amount of drug abuse, especially since men are more likely to abuse most substances. The median age of the population is 33.7 years of age, which is older than the age group with the highest amount of substance abuse. The estimated median household income in 2016 was $63,227. This figure is slightly less than the state of New Jersey, which has an estimated median household income of $76,126. In 2000, the estimated household income was only $37,862. As of 2016, the median home or condo value in Jersey City was $376,000, a significant increase since 2000 when the median home value was $137,900.

Jersey City has a high crime rate with it being safer than only 33 percent of other cities in the United States. Most of the crimes are property related. In fact, of the reported 5,612 crimes per year, 4,229 of them were nonviolent, which could have some relationship to the high amount of substance abuse in the area. Besides being known for crime, Jersey is also known for its drug abuse. Heroin is particularly becoming a problem. In fact, the city ranked as the fourth highest city in New Jersey for heroin usage. In 2015, the city saw 716 reported cases of heroin abuse. Alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine are the most common substances people enter into rehab programs for in Jersey City. A majority of people who sought out treatment in 2015 were between the ages of 18 and 24.

Your Personal Drug and Alcohol Inventory

If you’ve been told more times than you can count about your drug or alcohol usage, you may have a drug or alcohol problem. However, before you jump to conclusions, you should always do a self-inventory to see if you could possibly benefit from a drug or alcohol rehab in Jersey City, New Jersey. Evaluate how much you rely on drugs or alcohol to get through your day. Ask yourself how often you think about using drugs or alcohol. It’s no longer recreational if you’re thinking about drugs or alcohol most days of the week or most hours of the day. Additionally, you shouldn’t feel as though you rely on a substance to get through your days. 

Evaluate how drugs or alcohol have impacted your school or work performance. Think about your attendance and performance before you started using any substances to now. If you see a decline in your performance or your attendance, it could indicate your usage has become a problem. When you’re evaluating your drug or alcohol usage, you should consider your relationship with your friends, family or significant other and ask yourself if your substance abuse has affected any of these individuals negatively. You’ll also want to consider if you regret what you say or do when you’re intoxicated.

Assess how drugs or alcohol have impacted your finances. A substance becomes a problem when you’re spending more than your budget allows on a substance. Legal problems also play a role in whether your habit is more than occasional usage. If you black out due to intoxication, it’s oftentimes a signal your substance abuse is a bit out of control. Take into account how you feel when you must go without a substance because you shouldn’t feel ill or anxious refraining from usage for a week or longer. 

After you’ve conducted an assessment of your own drug or alcohol habits, you can decide if your substance usage is more than just to have fun. If you think you may have a problem, a drug or alcohol addiction center in Jersey City, NJ can provide you with a more extensive evaluation. A professional will determine if you would benefit from rehab. They also will be able to help you determine the ideal treatment for you, which may consist of a monitored detox, inpatient or outpatient treatment and an aftercare program. Some patients may benefit from a sober living home in Jersey City, NJ as well. 

Admission Process

Your admission to a drug or alcohol rehab facility will be comprised of paperwork along with an interview. Some patients must undergo medical testing as well. This admission process is also referred to as the intake process. Generally, your admission lasts for about 45 minutes, although it may take longer depending on your specific needs.

As soon as you arrive at the facility for your intake, you’ll initiate the process with paperwork regarding your drug usage and medical history. All of the inquiries on the questionnaire help the facility to gain a better understanding of your addiction, health and life in general in order to customize a plan ideal for you. Make sure you’re honest on your admission paperwork since it’s not intended to judge you. All the questions help the facility devise a course of action that works toward your needs.
A staff member at the drug and alcohol rehab center in Jersey City, NJ will ask you questions about your substance abuse and how it has affected your life. You’ll discuss the reason why you believe your substance abuse started. The trained professional will ask you about your family and medical history. Part of your interview consists of you answering questions regarding any mental health issues you experience and if you use when symptoms arise. You may be asked the reason why you sought out treatment. You may need to undergo medical testing before you can be admitted.

Your Initial Recovery


The detoxification (detox) process is the first step you’ll have to undergo in your treatment. Although may facilities offer a detox program, you can go to centers that specialize in the detox process. A detox is when you remove all the substances from your body by stopping your substance abuse. This allows your body to rebalance itself since it’s gotten use to functioning under the use of a substance. This process is a shock to your system, so it order to get back to normal, you experience withdrawal symptoms during this time.

Not everyone responds to a detox the same. Some people have major potentially life-threatening reactions while others have manageable symptoms that are just unpleasant. The symptoms you experience depend upon the substance you’re addicted to and how much of it you used. The severity of your addiction is also dependent upon how long you’ve been using the substance. Even if the symptoms you experience aren’t severe, you can still benefit from detoxing in a skilled facility because they can ease your discomfort and help you get the care you need after the initial detox process is complete.

What Detoxing Can Feel Like

You might feel either psychological or physical symptoms of withdrawal. The symptoms you experience depend upon the substance you’re addicted to. For instance, heroin and other opiates cause gastrointestinal symptoms because you have opioid receptors throughout your body such as in your intestines. Other drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine cause psychological symptoms only, but sometimes these symptoms take a toll on your health, especially your mental well-being.

Physical symptoms of withdrawal occur in substances like alcohol, heroin, opiates and benzodiazepine tranquilizers. Some physical withdrawal symptoms include the following flu-like symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Aches and pains
  • Muscle weakness

Other physical symptoms of withdrawal include muscle spasms, tremors, abdominal cramping and profuse sweating. Generally, these symptoms begin within hours or days after your last use and tend to peak between two to three days after they start. You’ll notice the physical symptoms of withdrawal subside over the course of approximately a week, but this varies based on the substance you’re addicted to and the severity of your addiction. Factors that contribute to the seriousness of your addiction are related to the frequency, dosage and time frame of your usage. Withdrawal may cause you to experience abnormalities with your vital signs such as hypertension, tachycardia, arrhythmia and changes in your breathing. Some patients experience heart palpitations, too.

Withdrawal from some substances can be deadly because of the degree of instability they cause. Generally, death and serious complications are more prevalent in heavy, chronic users as opposed to those who who only have a mild addition. Going through withdrawal from alcohol or benzodiazepines may result in death due a heart attack, seizure or stroke. Seizures are possible from these substances, but they’re not always deadly. Withdrawal from other substances like heroin isn’t common because it only occurs due to dehydration related to the withdrawal symptoms. With these substances, withdrawal may cause hallucinations, in particular, in those with the most serious form of withdrawal, delirium tremens. Delirium tremens is associated with heavy users quitting suddenly or reducing their intake too rapidly. Delirium tremens may cause a number of symptoms such as hallucinations, grand mal seizures, nausea, mood swings, tachycardia or nightmares. Some people experience tachypenia, more commonly known as an increased breathing rate.  

Not all substances cause physical withdrawal symptoms; however, the psychological symptoms may be just as uncomfortable for some. Psychological symptoms are the only ones present in addictions to substances like methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy and other similar substances. These symptoms may occur in as little as a few hours after your last usage or several days later. Psychological symptoms happen in patients who have a physical addiction to a substance, but they usually manifest after the physical symptoms. The signs of psychological withdrawal include anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, disturbed sleep, irritability, depression, restlessness, mood swings and cravings. You might lose your ability to feel pleasure temporarily.

Benefits of Detoxing at a Facility

Whether you opt for a center specifically for detoxing or a treatment program that offers assisted detoxing, it’s best to seek the assistance of trained professionals, no matter if you’re addicted to a mentally or physically addictive substance. Although you don’t have to be under 24-hour monitoring for every drug addiction, seeking assistance can help you receive a prescription for a medicine to help ease the symptoms. You can also receive the necessary support you need to get through the process without feeling isolated. At the detox or drug and alcohol rehab center in Jersey City, NJ, you’ll benefit from the guidance of the staff who’ll be able to connect you with the best course of treatment for your particular needs.

Medications Given During Detox

Assistance during detoxing can help prevent serious complications of withdrawal from benzos or alcohol. For example, you may be prescribed a medication such as phenobarbital, Depakote, Gabapentin, phenytoin, carbamazepine or clonazepam. If you’re not given anything to prevent seizures beforehand, you may be administered a fast-acting anticonvulsant if you should happen to start experiencing a seizure.

Other drugs that may be administered during the detox process include an antiadrenergic, antidiarrheal, antiemetic, antinausea, antidepressant or antianxiety medication, depending on your symptoms. These are usually given as you experience the symptoms since everyone reacts to the withdrawal differently. An antiadrengic is given to those who experience changes in their heart rate or blood pressure because it prevents the body from releasing stress hormones that cause increases in these vital signs. It also relaxes your heart, so it doesn’t beat as hard, which can prevent a heart attack or stroke.

You may also be given a nonnarcotic analgesic such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) in order to alleviate muscle pain or weakness. It’s also beneficial if you’re experiencing a mild to moderate fever. You may be given a prescription sleep aid if you’re having trouble sleep, especially since feeling rested will benefit your recovery. You can opt for a more natural approach to your detox that utilizes holistic remedies for relief of your withdrawal symptoms, but not every facility has the same level of holistic care approaches as other centers.

A doctor may determine maintenance drugs for opiate withdrawal are the best course of action to prevent–or ease–many of the symptoms of withdrawal. Some examples of drugs in this classification include methadone, SUBOXONE and Subutex. SUBOXONE is a brand name for the combination drug, buprenorphine and Naloxone. Subutex only consists of buprenorphine. Methadone is the generic for Dolophine. All these drugs act on the same receptors in the brain as heroin or other opiates. However, these drugs aren’t known to cause the same high, making them unpleasurable for those who are given a maintenance drug. The Naloxone in the SUBOXONE blocks the effects of the opiate antagonist portion of the drug and also prevents you from receiving any affect if you should use heroin or another opiate. Typically, these drugs are most effective when given on a long-term basis as opposed to a only a few months. Usually, you’ll be given a drug in this category for a minimum of a year, depending on your particular situation. Any shorter isn’t recommended. Once it’s time to start weaning you off of the drug, the dosage of the medication will be decreased slowly over time.

In cases where the patient is addicted to a benzodiazepine–or sometimes a narcotic pain reliever–part of the detox process consists of a taper to minimize or alleviate symptoms of withdrawal. A taper is when you reduce the amount you take of the substance in small increments gradually over time. A physician will determine the taper schedule and may choose to alter it if you should happen to start experiencing symptoms. 

Inpatient Treatment–RTC vs. PHP vs. IOP

Inpatient drug and alcohol rehab in Jersey City consists of three main treatment varieties. The one ideal for you is dependent upon your particular situation. All three options are best for people who have moderate to severe addictions because they have stricter regulations, longer treatment hours and a more comprehensive approach. Oftentimes, inpatient treatment is recommended for people who have mental disorders in addition to a drug or alcohol addiction. Not all patients are able to live at the facility while going home at night isn’t an option for all patients. When deciding between inpatient and outpatient care, keep in mind that inpatient care seems to have longer lasting results in patients.


Residential Treatment Center

Those who don’t have a home, who may be in danger at home or who are at risk for using again staying in the same area benefit from remaining in a facility. A residential treatment center, more commonly referred to as an RTC program, is a treatment where you live at a drug and alcohol treatment center in Newark, NJ for between 30 to 90 days. You’ll need to follow the schedule given to you at the facility to prepare you for resuming life outside of the treatment center.

Intensive Outpatient Program

An intensive outpatient program (IOP) is when you remain living outside of the facility, but you must attend regularly scheduled sessions at a clinic. These sessions are a few days per week for a few hours each meeting. You still receive comprehensive care, but you’re able to work or take care of your other responsibilities. Typically, an IOP program lasts between 10 to 12 hours per week. To further enhance the results of your treatment, you may want to join a 12-step program in addition to an IOP treatment.

Partial Hospitalization

Partial hospitalization, also known as PHP, is similar to IOP because you’re able to sleep in your own bed and still take care of your other responsibilities. You spend more time in a PHP program than in an IOP. Usually, you go to treatment anywhere between three to seven days per week for around 10 hours each day. Those who benefit most from this treatment are those who have a problem that requires comprehensive care but not 24-hour-per-day monitoring. A PHP is also for those who have a dual diagnosis. 

Outpatient Treatment

An outpatient drug and alcohol rehab center in Jersey City, NJ utilizes similar modalities as inpatient care, but you spend a majority of your time outside of the facility. Therefore, you’re able to work, take care of your family, spend time with friends and live life as you usually would. You’ll need to attend regular meetings each week for a designated amount of time, which is usually about an hour. You’re more susceptible for a relapse when you stay in the same environment where you developed a drug or alcohol dependency. If you owe anybody money or have wronged someone, and they might harm you, an outpatient treatment isn’t an ideal solution. 


Therapy will be part of your treatment, whether you opt for an inpatient or outpatient rehab program. The therapy helps you get to the root of your problem and work on any underlying causes. You learn methods to cope with stress and temptation. Two main types of therapy exist: individual and group. In most cases, you’ll have a combination of both.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is a treatment method that consists of you speaking one-on-one with a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist. You speak about your addition and life in general. The therapist will inquire about your childhood and any trauma you’ve experienced throughout your life. From the information you provide, the counselor will determine any contributing factors of your addiction and talk you through them. You’ll learn ways to cope with stress and hardships without a substance. You’ll also be analyzed for any mental issues that could be contributing to your addiction, and then you’ll receive specialized counseling and possibly drug therapy.

Group Therapy

Aftercare along with your initial outpatient or inpatient treatment may incorporate group therapy. In a group therapy setting, you speak with other people who are going through what you are. Everyone in the group shares their story. They share their triumphs as well as lapses. The group encourages you to continue if you should happen to have a moment of weakness. Everyone in the group shares what works best for them and will help you deal if you find yourself in a situation where you’re thinking about using again. If you’re nervous to talk to your friends or family and ask them for support while you’re recovering, the group acts as your support system because you don’t have to feel embarrassed because everyone else in the group is–or has been–where you are.

Besides just talking to people in the group, you may also participate in role-playing games where you’re asked to act out scenarios. It’s a fun exercise that prepares you for conversations with those you may have hurt or what to do if you’re tempted to use.


Aftercare is just as important as your detox and inpatient or outpatient treatment in Jersey City, New Jersey. The aftercare acts a way to stay connected with a treatment method, so you’re able to continue receiving some form of care, so you don’t feel so alone while you’re recovering. The aftercare reinforces what you’ve learned during your time in a rehab program. You’ll benefit from encouragement in case you should happen to have a temporary lapse.

Aftercare therapy reiterates your triggers and how to cope. You’ll learn to deal with situations that weren’t discussed in rehab. You can utilize the aftercare therapy as a reference guide whenever you feel lost or just need to talk with someone. The aftercare program, no matter which one you choose, will help you learn to think about the consequences before you act, which has the potential to prevent a relapse.

Sober Living

A sober living house is a home you reside in for a period of time in between rehab and going home. You live in a house with other people who are recovering from addiction just like you. You get to socialize with people who aren’t abusing a substance, so you develop the ability to socialize without drinking or abusing a substance. It’s an ideal solution after treatment if you feel too vulnerable to return home. If you don’t have a home to return to, you can live at the sober house and get your life back together. You’re able to work while living at the house and will only have a curfew at first. You have an opportunity to regain your independence with help before setting out on your own again.


While you’re at the sober living house, you’ll have to pay bills. You’re not allowed to use drugs or alcohol and may have to partake in regular drug screenings. Generally, you’ll only be able to live in the sober house for a few months to a year.