Seeking out addiction treatment facilities is something few families plan for, but with a heroin epidemic raging in parts of the state, treatment is becoming a difficult decision for more and more people.

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Although many government-run and nonprofit addiction treatment programs are already in existence, the preponderance of heroin in Monmouth and Ocean counties means more private facilities are catering to residents. One new facility recently opened its doors in Toms River, while Florida-based organizations have opened offices in New Jersey municipalities and are referring families south.

However, for loved ones looking for a treatment facility, the process can be confusing. Dr. Debra Wentz, CEO of the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, says the most important thing is to look for a facility that offers "evidence-based practices -- which will enhance the possibility of positive treatment outcome."

Additionally, Wentz said it's important that any facility be licensed by the New Jersey Division of Addiction Services.

Out-of-state options are often presented because of the waiting times for in-state programs and limits on the duration of the treatment stays, according to Wentz, who also said families need to advocate to the state for funding for such facilities. She recommends choosing geographically convenient locations, when possible, and for families to consider culturally appropriate options.

"When selecting, it's very important to have a good rapport with the counselors and with the facility," Wentz said.

She said anyone interested in a private treatment facility must make sure their insurance company honors parity treatment laws.

"The federal parity treatment laws do include mental health and addiction services at the same level of care as physical health," Wentz said.