There is hope for people fighting heroin addiction in NJ
A special NJ 101.5 Town Hall program Tuesday gave New Jersey residents a wide range of information, options and resources to fight the scourge of heroin in their families and communities.
Ocean County Prosecutor Joe Coronato, Carrier Clinic Drug Counselor Larry Litras and Lynn Regan, the founder of the after-care program CFC Loud N Clear, discussed how the problem continues to get worse, in large part because New Jersey has the most pure and cheapest heroin in the nation.
The discussion focused on different types of intervention and treatment, and how no one "cookie cutter" approach can work for everyone.
"We need to be in the school system we need to be in the middle school, prevention is really the key here. We need to be woven into that community if we're going to make a difference - you need to grab kids when you can- it's the one opportunity that you have to do it and we have to grab the chance to make a difference - we need to reach out and say don't go down that road," Coronato said during the show.
During the town hall an online chat was filled with questions about where to go for treatment and help if you don't have health insurance.
"That's something where we need to look and draw attention to," Coronato said. "In Ocean County the program we're trying to put through is going to address that issue, meaning we're going to make it available. What we're trying to do with the pilot program is to see whether or not we can address the issue regardless of whether or not you have insurance- that is going to make a difference - the point is to save a life, and we have to be able to do that."
Drug Counselor Larry Litras of the Carrier Clinic said programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous 12-step treatment programs are available in every county, "and along with the 12-Step Community there are specialized groups for the families of the addicts."
Nicky, a caller to Tuesday night's show, said after actively using drugs for eight years, he's in recovery and has been clean for 19 months, after committing a string of felonies and being sent to prison.
"The only thing that ever worked for me is, not taking suboxone, not taking methadone, it's willingness to do the right thing," he said. "The willingness to change my life, basically I had to press the reset button on my whole life and that's exactly what worked for me, everybody sees the pain and misery that drugs have to offer, but there is recovery out there and I'm living proof of it."
Recovering addict Mashanti Troy, who's at CFC Loud n Clear, said "everyone needs to know themselves. Get to know yourself, my thing is education, just continue to learn, I would say love yourself, there is another way of life."
According to Coronato, there is hope for people dealing with addiction.
"I think there's hope, people need to partner up with education, with law enforcement and healthcare, that's going to help us," the prosecutor said.
Litras added the process of recovery isn't easy but "the other side, if you can get through the dark stuff, the other side is so much greater than you can imagine, so stick with it."
Lynn Regan stressed "there is hope, and you can make a great, incredible life for yourself and your family can heal from this."