Tuesday, January 18, 2022

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Drugs and Substance Abuse and Treatment in Princeton, New Jersey

Although not ranked in the first 25 Garden State cities as an epitome of opioid consumption, Princeton nonetheless succumbed to the same massive area influx, particularly of heroin, in the years 2013 and 2014. With easy access into New Jersey all along it’s extensive coastline, as well as its close proximity to the commercial hub of New York, enforcement agencies struggle to stem the diverse supply into the state’s cities. Substances – particularly heroin and cocaine – reach Princeton either via the Eastern seaboard or from New York City and surrounds, with the necessary logistics spread between public and private transport.


While the popular suspicion might be that Princeton University is a hub of drug abuse, the campus’ statistics remain fairly consistent across reporting periods, with only the dominant substance varying as time moves on and habits change. In Princeton, heroin trails some way behind alcohol, although exceeding marijuana and cocaine, in that order, as problem substances for the town, based on treatment center statistics. The ubiquitous methamphetamine’s usage in Princeton is on a par with marijuana use. Princeton is a melting pot of foreign and local knowledge-based workers, with some 97 percent of the working population occupying white collar jobs. This is far higher than the average American town or city. While English is the dominant language, there are large Chinese and Spanish speaking communities too, with some 25.5 percent of the town’s population having been born out of the United States.

With unemployment figures considerably lower than the national average at 2.9 percent (against 5.2 percent on average across the USA), the impetus behind illicit drug use is often not the despair of poverty or unemployment for many, but rather the recreational drive enabled by a fairly robust and modern, gregarious economy. That said, alienation is often a factor cited by those seeking the help of rehabilitation. A high percentage of Princeton workers telecommute, currently around 13 percent.  

Inpatient Treatment Centers

Assessment as a first step

First contact with a rehabilitation center involves an initial interview and assessment to establish the individual nature and circumstances of the patient’s substance abuse. A variety of treatment options exist and it’s imperative that a proper appraisal is done to establish the desired route to rehabilitation. People seeking treatment will find that the initial assessment is an opportunity for them, too, to ask any questions they might have, and plan a route forward in consultation with the resident health professionals. It’s important for everyone to be able to embrace a plan of recovery that feels right for them, and the initial assessment fleshes out options in a safe, welcoming environment.

Cost implications and budgetary considerations can be finalized at the assessment too. Many health care schemes will enable patients to be admitted to rehab, with at least partial funding available in most schemes to enable the process of rehabilitation. These and other details and their implications can be best sorted in consultation at the recovery center, as the staff will have a detailed knowledge of allowances and omissions of most schemes as well as be able to help patients enact the correct procedures for securing funding.


For those who need to enter a rehabilitation facility, pre-intake involves not only booking a date on which to enter rehabilitation, but also the personal preparation required to prepare oneself for the process. While Princeton is very much a college town, the fact that usage rates are highest for between the ages of 18 – 25 is a nationwide statistic and not peculiar to the town.

That said, many young adults will want to involve their families in the pre-intake phase to optimize support for the process. An important part of pre-intake is the mental preparedness needed to embark on a cleansing journey. Relief and trepidation are typically mixed in equal measure at this stage, but the initial interview also provides the first glimpse many have of a very practical, positive and safe road to recovery. 

Intake – living communally with people getting better


If a person decides, in consultation with counselors at the interview, that admission to a rehabilitation center is the answer to their substance abuse, intake follows. This is often a huge relief for sufferers and, while the withdrawal from use may be imagined to be frightening, a rehabilitation center affords one the support of a peopled, nurturing environment. Known as Residential Treatment (RTC), this kind of approach to rehabilitation is often the most effective for people who feel like they don’t have the capacity to remain mired in their daily lives while healing.

Partial hospitalization (PHP) may be an option for others. This involves time spent partaking in center activities, often sleeping over too, and intensive participation in the recovery program on a scheduled attendance basis. Often breadwinners or parents find that they can best manage the demands of their daily lives and their journey to recovery on the PHP basis. A middle way between the rather sweeping change of wholesale admission and less regular outpatient treatment, a health professional can bring welcome input into deciding on the best route to successful rehabilitation.

Outpatient programs

Several million hospital ER admissions every year in America are substance abuse related. A higher percentage of people who come to the point of emergency treatment in a hospital due to substance abuse tend towards an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Recovery as an outpatient may or may not be preceded by admission to a rehabilitation center. Outpatient treatment is geared for the same outcomes as rehabilitation center admission, but some find it more empowering, as it involves the presumption of greater resilience. The essential acknowledgement of a desire to live wholly sober is still manifest, however. Others may well find that the program offered to outpatients is insufficient to address their personal situation, and admission is then the preferred option. Outpatient programs usually provide daily or regular post-recovery care for those who have successfully completed treatment, as well as catering for those who move straight into an outpatient program of recovery as their choice of healing methodology.

Between RTC, PHP and IOP, various factors are factored into choosing the best options for quitting substance abuse. The substance in question, the frequency and consequences of use as well as a person’s personal circumstances all impact on the route recommended to recovery.

Practical considerations

Princeton has a typical substance abuse pattern for many cities in the state of New Jersey. Each year thousands seek help to rehabilitate their lives. The university campus ensures that there is always a large contingent of young adults in this college town, many of whom contribute to the annual statistics. Some 3596 people entered rehabilitation in Mercer County in 2016, just over 340 from Princeton town. If one considers this comes from a population of around 30,000 residents, it’s an alarming figure.

When preparing for admission into a rehabilitation center, some personal details should be on hand. The contact details of the patient’s existing health providers is normally needed – their address, contact numbers and names. Any details of current or recent illnesses are necessary too, along with the dosage and duration of any prescription medicine that accompanied them. Any medicinal or other supplements are also important to note when entering treatment.


The term “detox” is nowadays applied equally to home-based health pursuits as well as the process of rehabilitation, and its implications can be confusing. In a nutshell, a managed detox involves the cessation of substance use, whether on an in- or outpatient basis, coupled with energizing practices of physical detoxification. As rehabilitation is typically and most successfully effected through a broad approach, encompassing treating mental health, ceasing addiction and generating physiological well-being, the detoxing of the body is a necessary step. While some find it an insignificant component of treatment, many truly feel the value of physical recuperation aided by detoxing the body. For many, the detox regime becomes a real-time manifestation of the greater journey and gives them a regular practice with visible results and overall feelgood. Beneficial dietary and exercise habits are developed and proliferated, and sports, swimming or other cardio activity is an established component of detoxing, and helps shed the chains of addiction.

Detoxing as a step towards recovery is best done under the supervision of professional health care workers, and it’s an important part of every good rehab center today. The activity can be geared towards alleviating withdrawal symptoms and also hastens the emotional well-being of patients in the process of recovery. For this reason, this detox process is often referred to as a “medical detox” as it’s more than simply healthy eating or living. The process is managed to avoid stress while enabling a person to physiologically bounce back from addiction.

Complimentary services to rehabilitation

Many rehabilitation centers nowadays include the practice of offering a diverse array of supplementary, therapeutic activities to patients. Massage and yoga therapy, outdoor excursions and even paint shop and other beneficial, creative activities accompany wellness facilities on the premises. Planned family weekend outings and other constructive, sober pursuits are organized and encouraged by staff. Anger management, self-help learning and relevant self-improvement workshops and courses run concurrently with the recovery program. Much energy is also put into training patients for life beyond recovery, once they are back into the daily running of their world.

Many facilities also offer peripheral services that go towards the overall success of rehabilitation. Safe drivers and escorts on occasions can normally be employed. Patients can also decide on protocols for professional intervention in difficult moments. All of the complementary activities, beyond their own intrinsic merit, also go towards the healthy, routine activity so essential to holistic recovery. Replacing addictive behavior with healthy routine is a key component of rehabilitation. The often communal nature of these activities, involving family or other in- or outpatients, goes a long way towards complete recovery, as the intrinsic isolation and helplessness of addiction is broken and a new, healthy routine is born.

For those facing criminal prosecution for substance abuse, whether for possession or perhaps on a DUI charge, rehabilitation centers can facilitate leniency when before the courts, as a judge will often factor in a defendant’s enrollment in a treatment program. The center will have detailed offset knowledge, enabling patients to bring such positive input before the court, as well as being able to manage a patient’s physiological well-being during the process. Whether taking place in a specialized drug court or otherwise, in not only reflects well on a defendant that they have enrolled in a treatment program, a rehabilitation center’s support and perspective during trial can be a real aid.

Aftercare on the road to wellness

Professional support

Princeton boasts an extensive structure of aftercare programs with varying degrees of involvement. As in most other cities in New Jersey, the local network of support for recovering addicts is extensive and well-established. Individuals differ, but it’s very much a given that the more extensive the aftercare post rehabilitation is, the higher the chances of a substance-free life for ever after becomes. Rather than viewing treatment as a singular, once-off intervention, particularly the mental health aspects of recovery are often aided tremendously by a persistent, long term program of clinical support after being discharged from a facility.

The memories and associations taken from the recovery center as well as the activities and regular counsel a patient experiences while interned, all go towards perpetual success on the road to rehabilitation. Tying into a theme of persistent, healthy routine, aftercare counseling and support can be an essential tool to employ in pursuit of health and well-being.

Group support

It is usually recommended that people undergoing treatment and former patients participate in a regular group meeting of former addicts, in order to reaffirm the reality that addiction can be conquered as well as to provide ongoing support towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Typically a step program structure, the camaraderie and shared experiences of regular group participation can become a strong pillar of support. The social nature of these gatherings, combined with persistent consultation within an outpatient program, can inhibit relapse and for many become the lasting treasure they take away into a rehabilitated life.

It’s important that one participates in a group one can relate to and feel comfortable in. Very often there are “sponsors” available through these social support groups, and one can pick such a sponsor as a go-to confidant for support in times of temptation or personal crisis. Highly enabling and very positive, the connections one makes at support groups can endure a lifetime. Princeton has many operating support groups. From those established by household names in recovery – altruistic and fine-tuned in their approach – to homespun groups that have arisen from the goodwill of former patients, all have the same objective. To enable one to continue to live a supported, happy life once addiction has ceased. To increase the distance between that which was and what is now. And to provide relief and assistance in the event of a relapse, reinforcing the positive nature of a clean life through the tremendous camaraderie and good will inherent in – and derived of – group sharing.

Sober living

Apart from the support a patient will receive from the treatment center, fellow patients and subsequent group participation, facing a sober reality – and fostering it too – is an essential component of a rehabilitated life. Here treatment center facilitators can prove immeasurably beneficial, as sobriety is furthered by so many nuances of life, and hindered by not recognizing potentially negative behaviors or habits that may allow a person’s triggers to come into play. Triggers can be varied – people, events, venues – and sober living is a broad cognizance of the differences between what brings one down and what elevates one’s spirit, enabling sobriety. To this end, professional care on an outpatient basis at the rehabilitation center is probably the most beneficial input into a sober-living person’s life.

Not only is there much positive association and reinforcement in remaining connected to the place that saw a patient’s recovery materialize, there is also a wealth of long term knowledge and expertise available in the ranks of the health care professionals and peripheral service providers that populate recovery centers.

Princeton offers many options

If you’d like to find out whether your health insurance covers rehabilitation, you’d ideally contact your insurance provider. If you’re unsure or hesitant, contact us for a referral that can resolve all of these issues and make matters plain. Most venues in Princeton will offer financing options as well, while certainly accepting most types of health insurance payment, including Medicaid and Medicare.

It’s important to keep an open mind when assessing treatment centers prior to deciding on a venue. Oftentimes a certain venue will tend to be patronized by a certain demographic yet remains by no means indicative of recovery facilities overall. Upon visiting, some centers’ inpatients may seem very young, some very old, and others simply eccentric to individual taste. The only important consideration in all of it is to what extent the venue meets a patient’s needs and fosters a sense of safety and peace for them. While it might seem difficult to bring personal preferences into play when entering into what might be for some an intimidating and unknown space, nonetheless it’s essential to find the right treatment center for you or your loved one. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and express personal preferences, as this all helps you to know when a rehabilitation center appeals to you.

It’s important to research available local options. And, if you’re in need of help in that, or ready to start a process of recovery, call one of our specialist consultants today.