People have said that the flu has simply disappeared this season. Or is it just the overwhelming nonstop coverage of the coronavirus that has made it seem that way? Well there’s another problem that is still very much alive during the COVID-19 crisis and people seem to of forgotten about as well: The heroin epidemic.

It almost seems like there’s nothing else to talk about in this day and age and certainly nothing else to worry about except for coronavirus.

Have you noticed that a lot of the discussion about heroin/opioid abuse has completely disappeared from the headlines? It almost makes it seem as if the problem is gone but it is certainly not and it’s important to bring awareness to other issues besides the pandemic here in New Jersey.

Heroin abuse is still going strong and in some cases even rising here in New Jersey.

According to an article on Patch.com, the problem could even be worse than the pandemic. The worst part is that the pandemic and its associated shutdowns may have even exacerbated the heroin problem. How many people do you know who were never depressed before and fell into a depression during lockdowns? We can only imagine that those who already struggled with a heroin issue or a drug issue of any kind would find it more difficult to stay sober when the world is so upside down.

Mental health issues have surged due to the uncertainty of these times especially with young people who most crave stability and consistency and have had their lives thrown into upheaval. And as many times as someone says “the cure is worse than the disease,” I don’t think anything illustrates it as well as the growing use of heroin in New Jersey.

And even though people usually associate heroin with more urban communities, you can see from Patch.com’s list that suburban towns are not even close to being exempt from the scourge of heroin.

New Jersey released its annual list of community reported her when abuse cases and these towns were the top 11, headed by Wrightstown, a town in South Jersey, a town that has been notorious for its high level of heroin abuse. Is your town on this list?

Here is the list of the top 11 New Jersey towns with the highest-to-lowest number of cases in 2019 per 1,000 residents:

  1. PINE VALLEY - 250.00
  2. WRIGHTSTOWN - 155.37
  3. SEASIDE HEIGHTS - 35.94
  4. MANTALOKING - 34.01
  5. EGG HARBOR CITY - 33.63
  6. ATLANTIC CITY - 31.40
  7. WOODBINE - 24.86
  8. WEST WILDWOOD - 22.99
  9. WILDWOOD - 22.59
  10. BELVIDERE TWP 21.76
  11. WASHINGTON TWP (BURLINGTON) 21.74

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.

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