Drug epidemic gains political traction, especially in New Jersey

new jersey drug epidemic

Substance abuse is a world-wide issue; one of which has been growing at an explosive rate here at home in the United States.

If you don’t have any personal experience with it yourself, chances are you know someone who has. Describing our nation’s substance abuse issue as a drug epidemic is the only true and fitting way. Over the course of the last few years that this issue has blown out of proportion, the efforts put forth by political parties and representatives has been lacking to say the least.

Thankfully, that is all changing, and though it may take a while to get this speeding train to slow down and even be put in reverse, it’s becoming much more apparent that the focus is being given to the substance abuse world and the lives it has taken.

2016 was an election year and we have a lot to be grateful for because of that, despite what your political views and feelings may be on our current system and those involved. What it did was bring light to a number of issues that clearly need to be addressed by politicians; topics that can no longer be swept under the rug until ‘someone else’ wants to deal with them. Substance abuse was among those topics, and it’s about time.

Some of the loudest voices in our country are now speaking up about the detrimental effects illegal substances, alcohol, and prescription medications are having on our local communities, families, and friends. If we know someone who’s been hurt by all of this, they most likely do, too. This isn’t a problem that has only been affecting a certain gender, race, age, geographic area, or social class. It’s everywhere.

What’s being done about New Jersey’s drug epidemic

Very recently, Governor Chris Christie announced that his desires include adding an additional 864 inpatient beds for those suffering from drug-addiction or dealing with a mental illness. This would increase the state’s inpatient bed capacity by almost 40%, noting that this plan is to aid in addressing the public health crisis that has been plaguing the state of New Jersey in recent times. The goal of Christie is to reduce the number of state residents who are using and addicted to heroin or prescriptions that are opiate-based.

The facts and figures around the vast number of users and overdoses are astonishing, particularly in the state of New Jersey, where estimates show that heroin and opioid related deaths are double that of the national rate and are climbing year over year.

“Opioid addiction is a public health crisis and we must take aggressive action to get this crisis under control and save lives.”
-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

This is what’s important.

Whether you like Chris Christie or not, it’s imperative that public figures like him are bringing these issues into the view of society. Each year, we hear more and more about the tragedy left behind by substance abuse and before long, should nothing be done about it, this out-of-control train will be nearly impossible to stop.

The actions needed to be taken exceed far past the typical 12 steps so many of us are familiar with, but if we can continually make our voices louder and our opinions known, we just might have a fighting chance at defeating it. Keep your voices loud. Use your knowledge to fuel the fight against the abuse.