GV | ONLY IN NEW JERSEY
WITH STEVE ADUBATO
Steve Adubato, PhD., is an Emmy Award–winning anchor for Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJTV (PBS) who regularly appears on the Today Show, Fox 5
in New York and on many New York-based radio stations. His newest book, You Are the Brand, examines the brand strategies of more than 30 individuals
and companies. For more information log on to stand-deliver.com. Find Steve on Facebook at Facebook.com/SteveAdubatoPHD.
families coping with addiction to heroin
and prescription painkillers. “Sixty percent
of the callers to our hotline also report they
suffer from depression and anxiety,” says
Carolyn Beauchamp, president and CEO of
the Mental Health Association.
There are numerous ways to treat opioid abuse, including 12-step programs and
medication-assisted treatment (MAT). For
those who seek medical help, paying for
treatment can be an issue. Medicaid covers
treatment for opioid addiction, but many
private insurers do not.
Aside from the financial burden, there
can be a stigma associated with MAT.
Those who advocate 12-step plans view
MAT as substituting one drug for another.
This position, says Dr. Louis E. Baxter
Sr., executive medical director of the
Professional Assistance Program of New
Jersey, can get in the way of recovery for
those who are prescribed FDA-approved
medications to treat their addictions—
such as methadone and newer options like
Buprenorphine, Vivitrol and Naltrexone.
In fact, all of the 12-step recovery
programs support following doctor’s
orders regarding medications, as can
be seen on their websites. “MAT is essential to obtain and sustain long-term
recovery for some patients,” says Baxter.
Further, he points out, “every other
chronic medical disease employs and
encourages the use of medications in
concert with lifestyle changes.”
Narcan is another drug playing an
important role in the battle against po-
tentially fatal heroin overdoses. Narcan
is not used to fight addiction; rather, it is
administered to counteract overdoses.
As recently as one year ago, Narcan was
available to only a handful of police
departments. Today, thanks to the state’s
Overdose Prevention Act, every municipality has access to this life-saving drug
and the training on how to use it.
There is more work to be done to
get to the root cause, effect and ongoing
treatment of addiction. The best first step
is seeking treatment and education. If you
or someone you know is dealing with addiction, call the NJ Connect for Recovery
help line at 855-652-3737. ;
Heroin: An Uphill Battle
NJ hit hard by national epidemic of opioid use.
WE’VE ALL SEEN THE HEADLINES: The use
of heroin and other opioids has reached epidemic proportions in the Garden State and
across the nation. And while some progress
has been made in fighting this scourge, it is
not going away any time soon.
According to the Centers for Disease
Control, an uptick in heroin use among
historically low-risk groups—women,
the privately insured, individuals ages
18 to 25, and people in higher income
brackets—have contributed to this trend.
Also of note: The CDC found that users
of prescription opioid painkillers are
40 times more likely to use heroin. The
reason: Heroin costs as little as $4 a bag on
the street, compared to prescription drugs
costing as much as $25 to $30 a pill.
New Jersey has been particularly
hard hit. Our state has triple the national
average of heroin overdoses. To a certain
degree, we can blame geography. Our
airports and seaports make us a point of
entry for the illicit goods. As a result, ex-
perts say New Jersey’s heroin is some of
the purest (and therefore strongest) and
cheapest in the country. The high cost
of living in New Jersey is another factor.
Often both parents or legal guardians
must work and are not always around to
supervise young people.
The state is fighting back through a
coordinated effort among law enforce-
ment agencies, first responders and mental
health and addiction professionals. It is
difficult to measure their progress, in part
because deaths attributed to opiates are
not always accurately recorded.
Treatment for addiction starts with rec-
ognition that it is a disease. In fact, research
indicates a significant correlation between
mental illness and opiate addiction. With
this in mind, the Mental Health Associa-
tion in New Jersey last December launched
NJ Connect for Recovery, a call line that
provides counseling to individuals and
Heroin seized in
at the county
forensic crime lab