Unveiling the Truth: New Jersey Drug Use Statistics Uncovered

To understand the full scope of substance use disorders in New Jersey, it’s crucial to delve into New Jersey drug use statistics. These figures serve not only to illuminate the prevalence of substance abuse within the state but also to highlight the urgent need for comprehensive strategies and solutions to address this growing concern. With New Jersey being a microcosm of the broader national struggle against substance use disorders, understanding the local landscape is pivotal for crafting interventions that can make a real difference.

This overview of drug use in New Jersey focuses on substance-specific statistics involving heroin, marijuana, and other vital substances. It will explore the impact of drug use on mental health and highlight the intricate link between substance abuse and psychological well-being. By engaging with this analysis, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of the challenges New Jersey faces and the importance of addressing substance abuse to foster healthier communities.

Overview of Drug Use in New Jersey

General Statistics

In 2021, New Jersey experienced a significant number of substance abuse treatment admissions, totaling 87,745, with discharges closely following at 86,626. The data for 2022 shows a slight decrease, with 85,266 admissions and 84,437 discharges. Alcohol, heroin, and other opiates were the primary substances leading to these admissions. Residents need to be aware of the resources available for treatment, such as the Excel Treatment Center, which provides specialized care for addiction recovery.

Age and Gender Breakdown

The treatment admissions in New Jersey vary significantly by age and gender. Here is a detailed breakdown:

  • 0-17 years: Predominantly affected by alcohol and marijuana/hashish use.
  • 18-24 years: High admissions for heroin and alcohol.
  • 25-59 years: This age group sees the highest numbers, particularly with heroin and alcohol being the most common substances.
  • 60 years and over: Although lower in total numbers, there is a notable percentage of admissions for alcohol and heroin.

Men are generally more represented in treatment admissions across all substances, but the gender distribution can vary with specific drugs like methamphetamines and opiates.

Understanding these patterns helps target interventions and provide the necessary support at places like Excel Treatment Center, where tailored programs address these specific demographics and their unique recovery needs.

Substance-Specific Statistics


In New Jersey, marijuana usage statistics reveal significant insights into the demographic and behavioral patterns of users. In 2021, marijuana/hashish accounted for 6,569 treatment admissions, approximately 7% of the total. Notably, usage among adults aged 26 and older has increased and decreased among those aged 18 to 25. Over two years, youth usage (ages 12-17) increased from 70,000 to 78,000 in reported use. Interestingly, despite the increase in marijuana arrests among young adults, treatment admissions have declined for this group but increased for older adults. Racially, admission rates were similar between black and white users, with a slight majority of users being male.


Opioids, particularly heroin and other opiates, continue to be a major concern in New Jersey. In 2021, heroin alone was responsible for 33,587 treatment admissions, or 38% of all cases. The opioid crisis, exacerbated by the widespread availability of illicit opioids and prescription medications, has led to a significant number of overdose deaths. In some weeks of 2022, opioid overdoses accounted for over 75 deaths. This ongoing crisis highlights the critical need for effective intervention and treatment services like Excel Treatment Centers.


Cocaine usage in New Jersey, while lower than in some states, remains a significant issue. The drug accounted for 4,494 treatment admissions in 2021, about 5%. Cocaine, mainly when used in combination with other substances like alcohol or heroin, poses severe health risks, including the risk of fatal overdoses. Recent data indicates a reemergence of cocaine use, particularly among young adults, signaling a potential resurgence of this powerful stimulant as a public health concern.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug misuse, particularly of pain relievers, is another significant area of concern. In New Jersey, 3.0% of the population misused prescription pain relievers, slightly lower than the national average. The New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) is crucial in curbing misuse by tracking prescriptions and providing data to healthcare providers. This system helps prevent prescription drug misuse and ensures that those in need of help can receive appropriate treatment, such as at facilities like Excel Treatment Center.

Impact on Mental Health and Treatment

Mental Health Statistics

In New Jersey, mental health challenges are a significant concern, particularly among youth and adults. From 2016 to 2019, approximately 10.6% of youth aged 12–17 reported experiencing a major depressive episode (MDE) annually, with only 36.2% receiving treatment for depression. For adults, the prevalence of severe thoughts of suicide remained stable at about 3.2% between 2008 and 2019. These figures highlight the ongoing need for effective mental health services and interventions.

Treatment Admissions

In 2021, New Jersey saw 87,745 treatment admissions for substance abuse, with a variety of substances being the primary reason for admission. The data indicates a robust infrastructure for addressing substance use disorders, yet there remains a gap between those needing treatment and those receiving it. Facilities like Excel Treatment Center are crucial in bridging this gap by providing specialized care and support for recovery.

Challenges in Treatment and Access

Access to treatment presents several challenges, including stigma, financial barriers, and logistical issues. In 2018, common reasons for not seeking treatment included managing the problem on one’s own and fear of social stigma. Despite the availability of treatment options, misconceptions and lack of information still deter many from seeking necessary help. Enhancing public awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders can encourage more individuals to seek aid.

By addressing these critical areas, New Jersey can improve its response to the mental health and addiction crises, ensuring that more individuals receive the help they need at crucial points in their recovery journey.


As we reflect on the substance use landscape in New Jersey, the statistics and insights gathered highlight the complex challenge that addiction poses to individuals, families, and communities across the state. The prevalence of substance use disorders, as detailed from heroin to prescription drugs, signals a pressing need for targeted interventions and accessible treatment services. Paramount in addressing this crisis is the role of facilities like the Excel Treatment Center, which offers hope and support for those seeking to overcome addiction. Their specialized care and comprehensive approach toward recovery embody the essential resources required to mitigate the impact of substance use disorders on New Jersey’s community.

The journey towards healthier communities in New Jersey hinges on our collective commitment to enhancing access to treatment and eradicating the stigma of seeking help. The intricate link between mental health and substance abuse further emphasizes the need for integrated treatment solutions, where entities like Excel Treatment Center play a pivotal role. By prioritizing the expansion of such services and fostering a supportive environment for recovery, New Jersey can aspire to see a decline in substance use statistics and a brighter future for those affected. The path ahead calls for an unwavering dedication to transforming the landscape of substance use treatment in the state.

Exploring the Connection Between Mental Health and Addiction

Addiction and poor mental health often go hand in hand, each influencing the other. Understanding the intricate link between mental health and addiction is like unraveling a complex puzzle. You might wonder if mental health issues lead to substance abuse, or if it’s the other way around. It’s a common question, considering individuals with mental illness are significantly more likely to struggle with addiction.

Nearly half the people treated for addiction also battle a mental health disorder. This connection isn’t coincidental. Young people, in particular, are susceptible, as they face life’s stressors and hormonal changes to a higher degree. With many reasons as to why, its clear addiction and mental health issues are often simultaneous, and understanding the connection can increase your chances of seeking appropriate help. 

Understanding the Link between Mental Health and Addiction

When exploring the dynamic between mental health and substance addiction, it’s essential to look at the evidence. Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicates that people with mental health issues are significantly more likely to develop addictive behaviors compared to the general populace. Specifically, their likelihood of struggling with addiction ranges from two to four times higher.

The Mutual Influence of Disorders

Think of mental health disorders and addiction as two forces that often work together, sometimes to the detriment of the individual. While it’s not a given that everyone experiencing mental health problems will become addicted to substances, there’s a distinct pattern of dual-diagnosis cases where individuals face both challenges concurrently. Technological advances and comprehensive data analysis have shed light on this, and shown risk factor overlaps for these conditions.

  • Risk Factor Overlap: Both mental health disorders and addictions share common risk factors such as genetics, stress, and trauma.
  • Dual-Diagnosis: It’s not uncommon for someone seeking treatment for addiction to be diagnosed with a coinciding mental health issue.

Local Resources for Dual Diagnosis

If you’re struggling with addiction and mental health, seeking help for both is crucial for a successful recovery. There may be a dual diagnosis center in your area focused on helping people who are dealing with both addiction and mental health issues. While availability varies by region, these teams play a crucial role in providing integrated care. If no specialized team exists, your local community mental health team may offer support, though a referral from a general practitioner is typically required. Beyond healthcare services, local charities frequently extend supportive resources.

Excel Treatment Center in NJ has treatment services available for those in need in the NY and NJ areas. With a special focus on dual diagnosis, clients can rest assured they will receive the treatment they need to heal the root causes of both conditions. 

Impact of Mental Health on Substance Abuse

Understanding how mental health disorders drive substance abuse has helped the development of effective treatment strategies. Mental illness can lead to substance use as a form of self-medication. 50% of individuals with severe mental disorders are negatively impacted by substance abuse. This high rate of comorbidity suggests that mental health issues often perpetuate the use of drugs or alcohol as coping mechanisms.

The Intricacies of Self-Medication

You might not realize it, but the relationship between mental illness and substance use is often rooted in an attempt to manage symptoms. Studies have shown that those with mental health disorders may use substances to alleviate their mental distress temporarily. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, people with mental health conditions frequently self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. This temporary relief can quickly spiral into dependency and addiction. For example, someone with anxiety may feel less stressed when under the influence of alcohol, leading them to overuse the substance for relief and eventually form a dependence. 

Neurological Factors and Substance Use

The brain is incredibly complex, and its functioning plays a significant role in the connection between mental health and addiction. Neurological factors such as neurotransmitter functioning and brain maturation have a profound effect on both conditions. When the brain’s chemical messengers are imbalanced, mood and behavior are influenced, thereby increasing the risk of substance use and exacerbating mental illness symptoms.

Environmental Stress and Its Impact

Environmental factors are also at play when examining why individuals with mental health issues may turn to substance abuse. Where you live, the culture you’re exposed to, and the socioeconomic status of your family all contribute to your likelihood of substance use. These environmental influences can also determine the amount of stress you’re under – stress that can severely impact your mental health and potentially lead to substance abuse.

  • 50% of those with severe mental illnesses are affected by substance abuse.
  • Self-medication through substances is a common attempt to reduce mental health symptoms.
  • Neurological and environmental factors both significantly influence the risk of substance abuse in individuals with mental health disorders.

Influence of Substance Abuse on Mental Health

Substance abuse often acts as a catalyst for the deterioration of mental health. Sure, reaching for a drink or a quick fix might seem like an immediate solution to cope with emotional distress, but this can quickly spiral out of control. Self-medication is a common reason people with existing mental health issues turn to drugs or alcohol. Ironically, while substances may offer a quick escape, they can also exacerbate the very problems they’re meant to alleviate.

As someone dealing with psychological pain, you might find that substance use temporarily boosts your mood. However, it’s important to understand that this relief is fleeting and can lead to a cycle of dependence and worsening mental health symptoms. Continuous use of drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-regulate can blunt emotional resilience and make coping with stressors more difficult without the aid of substances.

One of the significant risks of substance abuse is its potential to mimic or aggravate mental health conditions. It might be tempting to attribute signs of depression or anxiety to daily stress, but in reality, substance use could be playing a major role. Regular consumption alters brain chemistry, affecting neurotransmitters directly linked to mood and mental well-being.

Substance abuse can impact mental health in a variety of ways:

  • Mood disorders can deepen, creating a loop of increasing substance use to manage worsening symptoms.
  • Individuals may develop drug-induced mental health disorders, wherein the substance use triggers the condition.
  • Substance use can lead to an absence of real self-care, which is fundamental for mental health maintenance.

Understanding the complexities of how these two conditions intersect is crucial for individuals and healthcare providers alike. Awareness of the neurological and environmental stressors that contribute to substance abuse can pave the way for finding healthier coping mechanisms and more effective treatments.

Vulnerability of Young People to Mental Health and Addiction

Young people today face a plethora of challenges and stressors that significantly increase their vulnerability to both mental health issues and substance addiction. The overlap between these conditions is particularly pronounced during adolescence and early adulthood—a critical developmental period when the brain is still maturing.

During these formative years, individuals are experimenting with their identity, seeking social acceptance, and possibly facing academic and parental pressures. Emotional regulation is not yet fully developed, making younger individuals more susceptible to impulsive behaviors and risky decisions. This can include the experimental use of drugs and alcohol, which unfortunately may lead down a path toward addiction.

Research highlights the severity of this issue, revealing alarming trends:

  • Youths with mental health disorders are at a higher risk of developing substance abuse problems.
  • Substance use during adolescence can interfere with neurological development, potentially leading to cognitive impairments and further mental health challenges.

Early intervention and support systems are vital in addressing both mental health and substance use issues. Supportive networks, including family, friends, schools, and community programs, play a pivotal role in guiding young people away from the risks of substance abuse and toward resources for mental wellness.

Preventative education is another key component, informing young people about the risks associated with substance use and its impact on mental health, while also promoting healthy coping mechanisms for stress and emotional challenges.

Your awareness of the unique risks faced by young individuals is crucial. Recognize that addressing these complex issues requires a compassionate, comprehensive approach, taking into account the multifaceted nature of mental health and addiction among youth.

Exploring the Strong Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Addiction

Mental health and substance addiction are closely intertwined, potentially leading to a dual diagnosis—a condition where an individual is affected by both mental illness and substance use disorder. The challenges are complicated since either condition can exacerbate the other. Youth are particularly susceptible as their brains are still developing, making them more vulnerable to the long-lasting effects of substances on cognitive abilities.

When you struggle with mental health issues, you might turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication. This temporary solace, however, often spirals into dependency. Conversely, those initially experimenting with substances may find their mental health declining as a result of their use.

Navigating the healthcare system with a dual diagnosis can be daunting. It’s crucial to seek integrated care, which may be available through specialized teams, sometimes known as dual diagnosis teams

Early intervention and education are essential in mitigating the progression of these dual challenges. Empowering young people with knowledge about the risks of substance experimentation and providing them with a supportive network can make a significant difference in their trajectory toward a healthier future.


Understanding the intricate link between mental health and addiction is vital for anyone struggling with these challenges. You’re not alone in this journey and recognizing the signs early can make a significant difference in your path to recovery. Remember that specialized care is available and reaching out to dual diagnosis teams and mental health professionals is key. It’s essential to educate yourself and those around you about the risks and to build a network that fosters resilience and promotes healing. Excel Treatment Center is highly trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating dual diagnosis. If you or someone you love needs specialized care for mental health and addiction, reach out to us today.

Celebrating Sobriety: Excel Treatment Center and Milestone House Attend New Jersey Devils Hockey Game

In a heartening display of community support and solidarity, clients from Excel Treatment Center and Milestone House recently had the exhilarating opportunity to attend a New Jersey Devils Hockey game together. The outing not only provided a thrilling experience but also symbolized a shared journey towards sobriety and mental wellness.

For many individuals on the path to recovery, outings and group activities serve as pivotal moments in their healing process. Such events not only offer moments of joy and camaraderie but also reinforce the importance of clean and sober living. The excursion to the hockey game proved to be just that—an unforgettable experience that brought the clients together in a celebration of their achievements and shared aspirations.

From the moment they stepped into the Prudential Center, home to the New Jersey Devils, there was an air of excitement and anticipation among the attendees. As they settled into their seats, surrounded by the electrifying energy of fellow fans, it was evident that this was more than just a sporting event—it was an opportunity for growth and reflection.

Throughout the game, laughter, cheers, and chants filled the arena as clients from Excel Treatment Center and Milestone House cheered on their favorite team. It was a moment of pure enjoyment, free from the burdens of addiction and mental health struggles. For many, it was a stark reminder of the beauty and richness of life in recovery.

The significance of this outing extended beyond the confines of the hockey rink. It was a testament to the power of community and collaboration in supporting individuals on their journey to wellness. The event was made possible through the generosity and support of Sol Ryan, Recovery Community Hockey and Ava Fernandez from the Prudential Center, whose invitation provided an opportunity for clients to come together in fellowship and fun.

Moreover, the outing served as a platform for raising awareness and combating stigma surrounding addiction and mental health. By attending the game as a group, clients from Excel Treatment Center and Milestone House showcased the possibility of leading fulfilling lives in recovery. Their presence in the arena was a testament to the resilience and determination of those navigating the complexities of addiction and mental illness.

As the final buzzer sounded, signaling the end of the game, there was a sense of gratitude and fulfillment among the attendees. They had not only witnessed an exciting match but had also experienced the transformative power of community and support. For many, it was a reminder that sobriety is not just about abstaining from substances—it’s about embracing life to its fullest and finding joy in shared experiences.

In conclusion, the outing to the New Jersey Devils Hockey game was a resounding success, fostering a sense of unity, hope, and empowerment among clients from Excel Treatment Center and Milestone House. It exemplified the transformative impact of community support in promoting recovery and mental wellness. As they returned home, filled with memories of an unforgettable evening, they carried with them a renewed sense of purpose and determination on their journey towards a brighter future.

Through events like these, we can continue to break down barriers, challenge stigma, and build a society that supports and uplifts individuals on their path to recovery. Excel Treatment Center, Milestone House, and their partners are committed to creating more opportunities for healing, growth, and celebration in the journey towards wellness.

10 Books on Addiction & Recovery

Reading can be an incredibly beneficial tool for individuals in recovery from drugs and alcohol. It serves as a constructive and educational pastime, diverting the mind from cravings and reducing feelings of isolation by connecting readers with stories and insights of others who have faced similar struggles. 

Through reading, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of the nature of addiction, learn various coping strategies, and find inspiration and hope in recovery stories. It also provides a form of meditation and relaxation, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for relapse. 

Reading can help in rebuilding concentration and cognitive abilities that may have been affected by substance abuse. Engaging with literature offers a way to explore emotions, enhance self-awareness, and foster personal growth and healing, making it a powerful ally in the journey toward sobriety and a healthier life.

10 Books on Addiction & Recovery 

  • The Recovery Book” by Al J. Mooney, Catherine Dold, and Howard Eisenberg
    • This comprehensive guide offers insights into every aspect of addiction and recovery. Reading it can provide someone looking to get sober with a roadmap, from the early days of sobriety through long-term health and wellness.
  • Clean” by David Sheff
    • Sheff explores the nature of addiction and the latest research on how to treat it. This book can benefit individuals by providing a deeper understanding of addiction and the hope and knowledge that recovery is possible.
  • In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Dr. Gabor Maté
    • Dr. Maté combines years of experience with the latest research on addiction. Readers can gain insights into the root causes of addiction and how to approach healing and recovery.
  • The Sober Truth” by Lance Dodes
    • Dodes offers a critical look at the addiction treatment industry and the effectiveness of rehab and AA. This book is beneficial for those seeking an alternative perspective on traditional recovery methods.
  • This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace
    • Grace offers a path to a happier life without alcohol through changing your mindset about drinking. This can be incredibly beneficial for individuals looking to understand and change their relationship with alcohol.
  • Unbroken Brain” by Maia Szalavitz
    • Szalavitz argues addiction is a learning disorder and offers a new approach to understanding and managing addiction. This can help individuals seeking an innovative and compassionate approach to recovery.
  • The Language of Letting Go” by Melody Beattie
    • Beattie’s daily meditations offer support and wisdom for individuals in recovery from addiction. This book can benefit anyone looking for daily inspiration and guidance on their journey to sobriety.
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions” by Russell Brand
    • Brand offers a humorous yet earnest discussion of addiction and recovery based on his own experiences, providing practical advice and a relatable perspective beneficial for those in the early stages of recovery.
  • Drinking: A Love Story” by Caroline Knapp
    • Knapp’s memoir provides an intimate look at her struggle with alcoholism. Readers can find strength and understanding in her story, recognizing the challenges and possibilities of recovery.
  • Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget” by Sarah Hepola
    • Hepola’s memoir offers an honest and poignant look at her life as a high-functioning alcoholic. It can serve as a cautionary tale and source of strength for individuals recognizing the impact of alcohol and seeking a sober life.

Reading these books can offer individuals struggling with addiction or seeking sobriety various perspectives and approaches to understanding and overcoming their challenges. 

They provide personal insights, professional advice, and a sense of camaraderie, making the journey to sobriety feel more informed and less isolating. Whether it’s through self-discovery, learning new strategies, or finding comfort in shared experiences, each book contributes valuable guidance and support for anyone on the path to recovery.

Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan

Recovering from addiction is a journey, not just a destination. It’s a lifelong commitment that demands ongoing dedication and perseverance.

At the heart of this journey lies the crucial role of a relapse prevention plan—a comprehensive strategy that serves as your compass to stay sober, even when faced with temptation and triggers.

So, if you’re ready to discover the keys to maintaining lasting sobriety, keep reading!

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

A relapse prevention plan is a personalized and practical strategy that helps you recognize and manage relapse warning signs.

It includes a clear list of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that might indicate a potential return to substance use.

This plan also provides step-by-step actions to prevent a full-blown relapse.

Moreover, the plan incorporates positive coping mechanisms, lifestyle changes, and resources for support.

It’s a dynamic document that can adapt as you progress toward addiction recovery.

Why Do Addicts Relapse?

Relapse is something many people experience on their recovery journey.

According to researchers, it happens to about 40-60 percent of individuals recovering from addiction.

Stress, triggers, and declining mental health often contribute to this. Speaking of mental health, it plays a crucial role in addiction recovery.

Many recovering addicts also struggle with co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder.

If left untreated, these conditions can worsen cravings and increase the risk of relapse.

Recognizing Relapse Signs

Relapse doesn’t just happen out of the blue.

It’s usually a gradual process that starts with emotional relapse, then moves on to mental relapse, and eventually leads to physical relapse.

The key is to recognize the early signs to prevent a full relapse.

During emotional relapse, you might feel isolated, anxious, or angry. In the mental relapse stage, thoughts of using again, reminiscing about past use, or even planning a relapse may come up.

Physical relapse occurs when a person goes back to substance use.

Building Your Plan

When creating your relapse prevention guide, it’s essential to consider these key elements:

Identify Triggers and Warning Signs

List people, places, or situations that might trigger cravings. Recognize the emotional and mental warning signs that often come before a relapse.

Develop Coping Strategies

Create a list of healthy, positive ways to manage stress and cravings. This could include exercise, meditation, hobbies, or contacting a support network.

Maintain a Balanced Lifestyle

Take care of your physical health through appropriate nutrition, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep.

Emotional well-being is equally important, so consider practices like mindfulness, therapy, or journaling.

Build a Support Network

Identify those who can provide emotional support, encouragement, and accountability. This could be friends, family, mentors, or support groups.

Continual Learning

Stay educated about addiction and recovery. The more you understand about the recovery process, the better prepared you’ll be to maintain your sobriety.

Integrating Your Plan with Other Forms of Addiction Treatment

To prevent a relapse, it’s essential to have a plan that works hand-in-hand with other treatment approaches.

Collaborating closely with your healthcare provider or counselor is crucial to tailor the plan to your needs and ongoing treatment programs.

Here are some examples of treatment approaches that can complement your relapse prevention strategies:

Detox: A process to safely manage withdrawal symptoms and rid the body of substances.

Remember, working closely with your healthcare team will help ensure your prevention plan aligns with your unique circumstances and addiction treatment needs.

Excel Treatment Center: Your Partner in Recovery

At Excel Treatment Center in New Jersey, we’re here for you every step of the way on your journey to recovery.

Our comprehensive addiction care includes detox, residential care, outpatient services, and even telehealth options.

Our dedicated professionals are engaged in helping you create a personalized relapse prevention plan that seamlessly aligns with your treatment strategy.

Remember that creating a plan is crucial in your journey to recovery. It’s not about anticipating failure; it’s about preparing for success.If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to contact Excel Treatment Center today!