“Our Neighbors Are Dying” – The Addiction Crisis in New Jersey
By: Lakeview Health
Published: June 28, 2017

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has dedicated the last year of his term in office to tackling the drug addiction crisis in his state. “Our friends are dying. Our neighbors are dying. Our co-workers are dying. Our children are dying. Every day. In numbers we can no longer ignore,” Christie declared in his state-of-the-state address in January.

“Our state faces a crisis which is more urgent to New Jersey’s families than any other issue we could confront. A crisis which is destroying families. One that is ripping the very fabric of our state. The crisis of drug addiction,”

– Gov. Chris Christie

The dramatic situation report was more than justified. “People addicted to opioids and other substances can be found everywhere in the state,” confirms Mandy Koblischek, who formerly represented Lakeview Health in New Jersey. “It is in the suburbs and the inner cities. It doesn’t discriminate, and it’s killing a whole generation right now.” There was a significant increase of 16.4 percent in the drug overdose death rate for New Jersey from 2014 to 2015. In his January address, Christie—who has been asked by President Trump to lead a new national opioid commission—stressed once again that drug addiction is a disease. “It is not a moral failing. It is a disease that can be treated. By treating the disease with the methods we know and treating its victims with understanding and compassion, we have a chance to save lives,” Christie said. But with so many New Jerseyans requiring addiction treatment, it has become increasingly hard to find rehab facilities for them. Many people part of this addiction crisis with substance use disorder would also benefit from undergoing evidenced-based, multidisciplinary treatment away from their home environment. “I know of many people who had a few days of treatment in a local psychiatric hospital and then were picked up by their girlfriend or by people they had been using with,” says Koblischek. “They went right back to neighborhoods teeming with drugs and alcohol, and relapsed.” Lakeview Health in Florida offers comprehensive substance abuse treatment in a safe environment away from addiction triggers. Unlike many other rehab centers, Lakeview specializes in treating addiction and many common co-occurring conditions like trauma, depression, and chronic pain simultaneously. This is important because many patients with a substance use disorder had traumatic experiences in their past or suffer from chronic pain. “We can take a wide variety of patients because we have the staff to do so,” says Koblischek. “Lakeview can take care of dual-diagnosis patients and our program is regarded one of the best in the field.” All staff at Lakeview have been trained in trauma-informed care, and patients can also benefit from gender-responsive treatment. Their integrative health approach also includes a sophisticated fitness program and nutritional therapy.