5 Essential Steps to Take When Seeking Drug and Alcohol Treatment in New Jersey

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According to New Jersey’s Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner, 2,248 overdose deaths involved the potent opioid fentanyl in 2019, and 1,076 involved heroin. Opioids are a leading cause of drug overdose deaths in the state and the country. This staggering statistic emphasizes the urgent need for effective treatment options. New Jersey has long grappled with a pervasive drug and alcohol addiction crisis.

The state’s proximity to major cities, such as New York and Philadelphia, has made it a prime location for the trafficking and distributing illicit substances. This, coupled with the state’s high population density, has contributed to the widespread availability and accessibility of drugs and alcohol.

Furthermore, the opioid epidemic has hit New Jersey particularly hard. Prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone and fentanyl, have become increasingly prevalent, leading to a surge in opioid-related overdoses and fatalities.

Given the gravity of the drug and alcohol addiction problem in New Jersey, individuals and their loved ones must understand the significance of seeking treatment from reputable facilities. Choosing the right path toward recovery can make all the difference in achieving long-term sobriety and reclaiming one’s life. Here are essential tips for choosing the right addiction treatment program.

Recognize the Need for Treatment

The first step in addressing a substance use disorder (SUD) is recognizing its signs. Substance abuse affects individuals mentally and physically, often leading to detrimental consequences in various aspects of their lives. By being aware of these indicators, individuals and their loved ones can take proactive steps toward seeking help and support.

Behavioral Signs

  • Drastic changes in social circles. Individuals struggling with substance abuse often isolate themselves from their usual social circles and develop friendships with individuals who share their substance use habits.
  • Neglecting responsibilities. Substance abuse can lead to declining performance at work or school, as individuals prioritize substance use over their obligations and responsibilities.
  • Engaging in risky behaviors. Substance abuse can lead to impulsive and reckless behaviors, such as driving under the influence, unprotected sexual activity, or involvement in criminal activities.
  • Withdrawal from hobbies and activities. Individuals may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed as substance abuse becomes their primary focus.

Physical Signs

  • Changes in appearance. Substance abuse can lead to noticeable physical changes, such as weight loss or gain, bloodshot eyes, dilated or constricted pupils, and poor personal hygiene.
  • Frequent illnesses. Substance abuse weakens the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections, respiratory issues, and other health problems.
  • Tremors or shakes. Some substances, particularly alcohol and certain drugs, can cause tremors or shakes in individuals who abuse them.
  • Slurred speech or impaired coordination. Substance abuse can affect motor skills and speech, leading to slurred speech or unsteady movements.

Psychological Signs

  • Mood swings and irritability. Substance abuse often leads to drastic changes in mood, with individuals experiencing heightened irritability, anger, or depression.
  • Anxiety and restlessness. Individuals may experience increased anxiety and restlessness when they cannot access or consume the substance they are addicted to.
  • Poor concentration and memory. Substance abuse can impair cognitive function, resulting in difficulties with concentration, memory loss, and decreased overall cognitive abilities.
  • Emotional instability. Substance abuse can lead to emotional instability. Individuals can experience intense emotions that may be hard to control.

Know the Different Types of Addiction Treatment

Individuals must decide between inpatient and outpatient treatment for substance use or mental health disorders.  Understanding the differences between these options and their suitability for different individuals is crucial in making an informed choice.

Inpatient Treatment: An Intensive Support and Structure

Inpatient treatment involves staying at a specialized facility for a specified period. This option provides individuals with round-the-clock care and a highly structured environment. It is particularly beneficial for those with severe addiction or mental health issues that require intensive support.

Inpatient treatment offers several advantages:

  • It provides a safe and controlled environment free from external triggers and distractions. This controlled setting allows individuals to focus solely on their recovery journey.
  • Inpatient treatment offers a multidisciplinary approach, combining therapy, counseling, and medical interventions to address addiction or mental health disorders’ physical, psychological, and emotional aspects.
  • The duration of inpatient treatment can vary, ranging from a few weeks to several months, allowing for a comprehensive and immersive healing experience.

However, it is essential to consider potential drawbacks. Inpatient treatment can be costly, and insurance coverage may vary. Additionally, being away from family and friends for an extended period can be emotionally challenging for some individuals. It is crucial to assess personal commitments, financial considerations, and the severity of the condition when deciding if inpatient treatment is the right fit.

Outpatient Treatment: Flexibility and Continued Support

NJ Outpatient treatment offers a more flexible approach to recovery, allowing individuals to receive treatment while living at home and maintaining their daily routines. This option is good for individuals with less severe addiction or mental health issues who can manage their responsibilities while attending regular treatment sessions.

Outpatient treatment provides several benefits:

  • It allows individuals to maintain their support systems and responsibilities, such as work or school while receiving treatment. This flexibility can be crucial for those who cannot take an extended leave of absence from their daily lives.
  • Outpatient treatment typically involves individual and group therapy sessions, providing a supportive community and an opportunity to learn from others facing similar challenges.
  • Outpatient treatment is typically less expensive than inpatient treatment, making it accessible to a broader range of individuals.

However, it is important to note that outpatient treatment may not suit everyone. It requires more self-discipline and motivation, as individuals must actively engage in their recovery outside of treatment sessions. Additionally, outpatient treatment may not provide the same level of intensive support and structure as inpatient treatment, which may be necessary for individuals with severe addiction or mental health issues.

Look for Evidence-Based Therapeutic Approaches

When researching treatment options, it is important to understand the different evidence-based therapeutic approaches available. Here are some commonly used modalities:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT identifies and addresses harmful thought patterns and behaviors contributing to addiction or mental health disorders. It helps individuals develop healthier coping mechanisms and improve problem-solving skills.
  • Group Therapy. Group therapy provides a supportive environment where individuals can share their experiences, gain insights from others, and develop interpersonal skills. It fosters a sense of community and connection, reducing feelings of isolation.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). MAT combines medication, such as methadone or buprenorphine, with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders (SUDs). It helps manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and support long-term recovery.

These evidence-based therapeutic approaches are often combined to provide comprehensive and effective treatment. Individuals must work with healthcare professionals to determine the most suitable modalities for their specific needs.

By understanding the differences between inpatient and outpatient treatment, exploring reputable treatment facilities, and familiarizing oneself with evidence-based therapeutic approaches, individuals can make informed decisions when researching treatment options. Remembering that each person’s journey is unique, and seeking professional guidance is crucial in finding the most suitable treatment path.

Know Your Financial Options

Insurance Coverage

Understanding the insurance options available is crucial when seeking addiction treatment in New Jersey. Insurance coverage can significantly alleviate the financial burden associated with addiction treatment.

  • Private Insurance. Many private insurance companies offer coverage for addiction treatment services. Reviewing your policy carefully to determine the extent of coverage and any limitations or restrictions is essential. Aetna, Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, and Blue Cross Blue Shield are among the common private insurance providers in New Jersey. These companies often have different plans with varying levels of coverage, so it is advisable to contact your insurance provider directly to inquire about addiction treatment coverage.
  • Medicaid. Medicaid is a government-funded program that provides health insurance coverage for low-income individuals and families. Medicaid coverage for addiction treatment services can vary, but it typically includes outpatient counseling, detoxification, and residential treatment.
  • Medicare. Medicare is a federal health insurance program primarily for individuals aged 65 and older and certain younger individuals with disabilities. Medicare coverage for addiction treatment services may include outpatient counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and inpatient rehabilitation. Reviewing your specific Medicare plan to understand the coverage details and associated costs is essential.

Government Assistance

New Jersey offers several state-funded programs and grants for individuals with limited financial resources to assist with addiction treatment costs. These programs aim to ensure everyone has access to the necessary care, regardless of their financial situation. One notable option is Charity Care. New Jersey’s Charity Care program provides free or reduced-cost medical care, including addiction treatment services, to individuals who meet income and asset criteria. This program is primarily for individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid but still require financial assistance. To apply for Charity Care, individuals can contact their local hospital or healthcare facility to inquire about the application process.

Payment Plans and Scholarships

Recognizing the financial challenges individuals may face when seeking addiction treatment, many treatment centers in New Jersey offer flexible payment options and scholarships. These options aim to make treatment more accessible and affordable. Here are some avenues to explore:

  • Sliding Scale Payment. Some treatment centers offer a sliding scale payment system, where fees are based on an individual’s income and ability to pay. This approach ensures treatment costs are adjusted according to financial circumstances, making it more manageable for those with limited resources. When researching treatment centers, inquire about their sliding scale payment options and the criteria for eligibility.
  • Scholarships and Grants. Specific treatment centers may have scholarships or grants available to help individuals who cannot afford the total cost of treatment. These scholarships can significantly reduce or eliminate treatment expenses. Individuals can contact treatment centers directly and inquire about scholarships or grants. Additionally, organizations such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) may provide information on national or local scholarships for addiction treatment.

By exploring insurance coverage options, government assistance programs, and treatment centers that offer flexible payment options or scholarships, individuals can find the necessary financial support to embark on their recovery journey. Researching and reaching out to relevant resources is crucial to ensure financial constraints do not hinder access to quality addiction treatment.

Get Into Treatment Quickly

When deciding about healthcare, especially when facing a serious illness or condition, you must consider all aspects and gather as much information as possible. However, addiction treatment has several barriers, including an individual’s readiness to change. Since each day of active addiction is potentially deadly, getting into a reputable treatment program is critical as soon as you decide you need one. Here are some tips to help you decide on a rehab program.

Personal Preferences

When considering an addiction treatment program, there might be some personal preferences that can influence your decision.

  • Location. A healthcare facility’s location can significantly impact a patient’s overall experience and recovery. Some individuals may prefer receiving treatment close to home, allowing easy access to loved ones and familiar surroundings. Others may be willing to travel to renowned medical centers known for their expertise in a particular field.
  • Treatment approach. Different healthcare providers may employ varying treatment approaches for the same condition. Factors such as invasiveness, potential side effects, and success rates should be carefully considered. By aligning personal preferences with the treatment approach, individuals can feel more confident and comfortable with their decision.
  • Amenities. While the primary focus should always be on the quality of medical care, amenities can also play a role in the decision-making process. Some healthcare facilities offer additional services such as integrative therapies, private rooms, or specialized programs that cater to specific needs.

Consulting Loved Ones When Seeking Addiction Treatment

  • Emotional support. Facing a healthcare decision can be overwhelming, and involving loved ones can provide much-needed emotional support. Discuss your options with trusted family members or friends who can offer a different perspective and help navigate decision-making.
  • Shared decision-making. Involving loved ones in decision-making provides emotional support and allows everyone to have a hand in making decisions about addiction treatment.

Different individuals may bring unique insights and perspectives, which can help the patient make a more informed choice. By considering the opinions and concerns of those close to them, you can ensure that your decision aligns with your values and goals.

Seeking Second Opinions

It can be helpful to consult multiple treatment providers to ensure you make an informed decision.

  • Expertise and perspective. Seeking second opinions from different healthcare providers can provide valuable insights into the diagnosis, treatment options, and potential outcomes. Each provider may have a unique approach or perspective, allowing you to comprehensively understand your condition and available treatments.
  • Confirmation and confidence. Obtaining a second opinion can confirm the initial diagnosis and treatment plan. It can provide you with the reassurance you need to move forward confidently. Additionally, a second opinion may uncover alternative treatment options or new research that the initial provider may not have considered.
  • Building a support network. Seeking second opinions can also help you build a network of healthcare professionals who can collaborate and provide ongoing care. This network can offer a sense of security and peace of mind, knowing they have access to diverse expertise and opinions.

Making a healthcare decision requires careful consideration of personal preferences, involving loved ones, and seeking second opinions. You can align your decision with your needs and comfort by evaluating location, treatment approach, and amenities. Involving family and friends can provide emotional support and facilitate shared decision-making. Seeking multiple opinions allows you to comprehensively understand their condition and treatment options, ultimately leading to a more informed decision.

Taking the right steps when seeking drug and alcohol rehab in New Jersey is paramount. By recapitulating the main points discussed, reinforcing the significance of seeking help, and issuing a call to action, we hope to empower you to make informed decisions and take the necessary steps toward recovery. Let us unite as a community to support those in need and create a society where we meet addiction met with compassion, understanding, and effective treatment.


American Psychiatric Association. (2017, January). What Is Addiction? Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, July). Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2023, June 30). Drug overdose death rates. National Institutes of Health. https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

National Institute of Mental Health. (2018, February). Depression. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner. (2020). Drug-related Deaths Dashboard. NJ Office of the chief state medical examiner. https://ocsme.nj.gov/Dashboard?_gl=1%2A1eafzb%2A_ga%2ANDIwMTMyNTg4LjE2ODYzNDAzOTU.%2A_ga_5PWJJG6642%2AMTY4ODc2OTE5OS40LjEuMTY4ODc2OTk5My4wLjAuMA