“I just don’t think the average person understands and knows exactly what heroin can do. Heroin won’t just destroy your life; it will destroy your community. One drug dealer can destroy an entire community like that,” said Earl Armin. Armin, a resident of New Jersey, spent 30 years in prison for armed robbery, which he says he committed to support his heroin addiction. Heroin addiction statistics in New Jersey are rampant, and often, heroin addiction begins with a prescription pill addiction, but once these prescriptions run out, individuals turn to the streets for heroin. Heroin addiction statistics in New Jersey continue to rise as at least 3,163 people died of drug overdoses in New Jersey in 2018. However, heroin is not the only culprit for the increase in drug overdose rates in New Jersey. In 2013, fentanyl and other synthetic analogs associated with fentanyl were involved in just 3.5% of New Jersey drug deaths. In 2017, fentanyl played a role in the death of nearly 1,400 people, or about 50% of the state’s death toll and in 2018 statistics were even higher. Heroin and other opioid abuse contribute not only to overdose deaths but also to blood-borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis and have a strong negative effect on pregnant mothers and newborn babies. Neonatal abstinence syndrome develops in newborn babies who are addicted to opioids upon being born as a result of opioid addiction during a mother’s pregnancy. Fentanyl, opioid, and heroin lead to devastating effects just not on one individual but on an entire community.
Taking a look at the numbers
- In 2017, New Jersey providers wrote 44.2 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons, compared to the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions.
- In New Jersey, the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome doubled from 2.5 cases per 1,000 hospital births in 2006 to 5.2 cases per 1,000 hospital births in 2013.
- Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 1,143 occurred in New Jersey. Among males, 9.3 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to intravenous drug use (IDU) or male-to-male contact and IDU.
- There were approximately 122 new cases of acute HCV (1.4 per 100,000 persons) reported in New Jersey in 2016
- According to the New Jersey Substance Abuse Monitoring System statistics, there were 69,477 hospital admissions for substance abuse treatment during 2015. Of those admissions, there were only 48,640 unique clients, which means that over 13,000 patients were admitted more than once during the year.
- While NJ ranks 39th in the nation when it comes to overall substance abuse rates, the state leads the country in the number of teenagers who say they’ve encountered drugs at school. According to a 2017 study, 30.7 percent of New Jersey high school students reported buying, selling, or being offered illegal substances while on school property.
- According to the Governor’s Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse, NJ is home to some of the cheapest and purest heroin in the country. Bags of heroin sell for as little at five dollars.
- In early 2017, a law was passed limiting opioid prescriptions to 5-day supplies except for in special cases.
- According to the preliminary data, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues were implicated in 1,379 overdose deaths in 2017, slightly over 50 percent of all drug overdose deaths. In 2016, fentanyl was implicated in 818 deaths and fentanyl analogues in 164 deaths.
- Heroin was implicated in 1,132 overdose deaths in 2017, or 41 percent of the total, according to the preliminary numbers. In 2016, there were 1,347 overdose deaths involving heroin or 61 percent of the total.
- Statistics based on data from the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program shows a 39 percent decrease from January 2014 through July 2018 in the rate of Schedule II opioid prescriptions processed and dosage units dispensed.
- For 2017, Camden County had the highest rate of naloxone administrations reported by law enforcement and EMTs, with one for every 205 residents.
- The statewide average was one naloxone administration published for every 627 residents.
- Statewide in 2017, there was one opioid prescription dispensed for every 1.85 people.