South Plainfield, New Jersey, is a borough of Middlesex County with a population of nearly 25,000. The borough’s area is 8.361 square miles, of which .034 square miles is water. Racial makeup is predominantly Caucasian, at 68%. South Plainfield’s Asian population is nearly 15%, Hispanic or Latino of any race is estimated at 14% and African American at 11%. The median household income of South Plainfield residents with a family is in the top echelon of the country, exceeding $100,000.
Local government in the borough consists of a Borough Council of six members, and a Mayor who can veto ordinances subject only to an override by two-thirds majority council vote. As is typical in a borough form of government, the council is the stronger of the two entities. Approximately two-thirds of the borough’s residents are registered voters, primarily Democrat.
Though the borough is affluent, or perhaps because the borough is affluent, drug issues are strong. Recent headlines have included:
● Police Announce Arrests in Drug and Firearms Distribution Ring (11/8/17);
● 36 Plainfield Residents Arrested in Operation Snow Bank Targeting Rival Drug Rings (8/1/17, resulting in the seizure of over 1.5 kilos of cocaine, two ounces of heroin, and more than $35,000 in cash);
● Plainfield Drug Network Busted, 2,200 Grams of Cocaine Seized (7/31/17);
● Plainfield Police Arrest Two For Narcotics with Kids at Home (11/18/17).
South Plainfield’s drug issues have been further elucidated in a June, 2107 report by the Department of Human Services: Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (Office of Planning, Research, Evaluation and Prevention). Said report presented the following abuse statistics for the 2016 calendar year for Middlesex County:
● 76,509 Middlesex County treatment admissions, and 74,291 discharges, were reported to the Jersey DHS, the vast majority for issues related to multiple drugs;
● 2,332 of Middlesex County treatment center admissions were due to issues primarily related to heroin;
● 1,842 Middlesex County treatment center admissions were due to issues primarily related to alcohol;
● 854 Middlesex County treatment center admissions were due to issues primarily related to marijuana;
● 321 Middlesex County treatment center admissions were due to issues primarily related to prescription opioids;
● 194 Middlesex County treatment center admissions were due to issues primarily related to cocaine;
● 150 Middlesex County treatment center admissions were due to issues primarily related to other drugs.
In addition to the above statistics, 1,094 of the above Middlesex County treatment center admissions identified as “intravenous drug users.”
In terms of level of care: 3443 completed Outpatient Care (IOP), 75 completed Partial Hospitalization, 583 completed Opioid Maintenance (OP), 101 completed IOP Opioid Maintenance, 87 attended a Halfway House, 224 attended a Long-Term Residence, 485 a short-term residence, 485 had partaken in a Detox Residential Treatment Plan, 56 for a Detox Outpatient Non-Methadone program, and 41 had partaken in an intervention.
The complete report can be found on the www.nj.gov website, and we strongly advise taking a look.
New Jersey Transit provides bus service to Newark, and also New York City. A car is needed, or at the very least recommended, to travel on the main roads. New Jersey is a HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) region, as is metropolitan New York. As such, many South Plainfield residents will travel to the higher-trafficked areas of Newark or New York to purchase their illicit drugs.
As with many other areas in the country, medical marijuana is an issue, particularly as it regards young people attempting to attain prescriptions from local doctors. A similar issue arises with opiates, and an over-prescription rate thereof. In terms of the former, so-called Alternative Treatment Centers (ARCs) abound in the county. As a result of a 2016 amendment to law P.L.2009, c.307, ATCs are no longer limited in the number of strains of medicinal marijuana cultivated. Various Compassion Centers have utilized the amendment – and the PR value of its wording – to increase their business.
Alcohol admissions are well above the state average, and heroin is within the epidemic range that has plagued much of the state for the past several years.