nj.com: The 15 N.J. towns with the highest rates of heroin treatment
New Jersey's heroin crisis is likely closer to you than you think.
Much has been made of the deadly drug's crawl into suburbia, but it isn't until you take a closer look that this becomes completely clear.
Statewide statistics on New Jersey's heroin problem paint a grim picture:
- There were at least 781 heroin-related deaths in New Jersey in 2014, the fifth straight year the figure has seen a precipitous rise.
- The rate of heroin overdoses has quadrupled nationwide in the last decade, butthe rate in New Jersey is more than triple the national rate.
- The number of deaths involving fentanyl, a powerful opioid often used to lace heroin, nearly tripled from 2013 to 2014.
- Heroin and other opioids were the primary drugs of nearly 50 percent of all substance abuse treatment patients in 2014, up nearly 10 percentage points in the last decade.
But when you take New Jersey town populations into account when analyzing treatment figures, heroin's reach in the Garden State comes into clearer focus.
The state's larger urban centers like Newark, Jersey City and Atlantic City will always have higher raw numbers when treatment figures are counted by virtue of the fact that they have larger populations.
But when you calculate the per capita rate of heroin treatment admissions in each municipality, something changes.
Newark, which had the highest number of heroin admissions becomes Ocean Gate, which had 53 admissions for every 1,000 residents. Jersey City becomes the borough of Sussex. Atlantic City becomes Seaside Heights.
While virtually no part of New Jersey is left untouched by the state's epidemic of heroin use, the highest concentration of people seeking treatment last year came from some of the state's smallest communities.
The map below shows the per capita rates for every municipality in New Jersey, in addition to raw admission numbers and population figures. The gallery at the top of this page includes the 15 towns with the highest per capita rates.
Data on heroin admission to New Jersey substance abuse facilities were taken from the New Jersey Division of Addiction Services' annual report on licensed state substance abuse facilities for 2014. Population figures were taken from the U.S. Census Bureau's most recent population counts for municipal New Jersey.
The admission data only includes patients who were admitted to treatment facilities in New Jersey. Those who sought treatment out-of-state were not included. Admissions data used patients' reported municipality of residence against permanent population to account for seasonal communities.