Category Archives: Alcohol

Treatment Admissions in Morris County

Did you know that in New Jersey, in 2016, there were 91  admissions to treatment for alcohol related reasons for people under 18? And in Morris County, there were 6 alcohol treatment admissions for those under 18. Though 6 may not seem like a high number, that means that not only were people under age drinking, but drinking to the point of needing detox or alcohol use treatment. Over the past year, the alcohol admissions have declined, but drug admissions have gone up. In 2015, there were 54 drug related admissions in Morris County, which in one year, went up to 88 drug related admissions.

As the perception of risk continues to be lowered, the rate of use continues to go up.

Did you know?

Approximately 2.3 million teens aged 12-17 are drinking each month in the United States. In fact, by senior year of high school, nearly half of students have drank alcohol. Not only are people underage drinking, but the majority of teens that are drinking are binge drinking. The perception of low risk of alcohol use is underage people leads to an increase in drinking, but as the binge drinking shows, it is not safe. The earlier people start drinking, the more underdeveloped their brain is which can lead to even riskier behavior.

Population Health Summit: A review

Yesterday, June 5th, 2018, was the 3rd Annual Population Health Summit in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The topic was focusing in on utilizing an integrated approach to address the opioid epidemic/crisis. In 2016, there were a total of 64,070 fatal overdoses in the United States, 2,200 of those being in New Jersey, 35 in Morris County. Though the number of overdoses in on the rise, there has been little action to limit the number of prescribing doctors. In New Jersey, we have 1,332 licensed prescribers but only 38 Medication Assistance Treatment (MAT). These numbers do not make sense. New Jersey increases the number of those able to prescribe, yet does not increase the number of treatment facilities that use prescriptions.

Dr. Nash, key note speaker, stated that we need to “shut off the faucet instead of mopping up the mess.” It is important to provide the prevention measures so that we can cut the opioid epidemic off at the source, and prevent people from even starting to use drugs. Dr. Nash also noted that 50% of all opioid users are unemployed and 25% are permanently disabled. This shows that the opioid epidemic needs to be looked at from the very beginning. If we provide resources from the beginning, keeping people healthy all around, it could limit the amount of people getting involved in drugs. Furthermore, it is important to address the institutional racism that has caused minorities and lower income persons to be pushed further and further away from medical care access.

The key component of the summit was to note that prevention and intervention is not a one person job. It is important for the law makers, family services, treatment centers, insurance companies, and caregivers to work together. Addressing the epidemic is a team sport, and is something that influences the entire population.

Morris County Drinking Stats

In Morris County, 26.1% of people between ages 18 and 34 are considered binge drinkers in data collected by NJSHAD, 2016. When taking this data and generalizing it over the entirety of Morris County with 95% confidence that the data is accurate and not coincidental, the range goes all the way up to a potential   Comparatively, both Passaic and Bergen county have significantly less binge drinkers, both falling about 21% (NJSHAD, 2016), and when generalized, the max is only 37%. Hudson county is also just below Morris County with a binge drinking percent of 25% and max range of 36%. Though Morris County is not the highest binge drinking county in Northern New Jersey, it is clear that the generalized data is still a high number. Especially comparing Morris County to the National Average of 25%, it becomes a larger issue.

The definition of binge drinking is having four or more drinks in one sitting for women and five or more drinks in one sitting for men, in the past 30 days. Part of the reason why binge drinking is so high in Morris County could be the number of alcohol outlets, which is approximately 473 outlets. Perception of risk is also low. The combination of outlets and low perception of risk heavily results in not only binge drinking, but also underage drinking.

Why is underage drinking so dangerous? People often question why the drinking age in the United States is 21, where in other countries it’s 18, but the brain does not stop developing until early to mid twenties. Harm to the brain during the development stages is much worse and can be irreversible. According to the CDC each year, there has been on average: 492 suicides in underage people that have been related to alcohol; 1580 motor vehicle crashes that result in death due to underage drinking; 245 deaths due to drowning, alcohol poisoning, or falling because of drinking; and 1269 homicides where the person was underage drinking. This is a total of 4358 deaths, on average, each year due to underage drinking.

CCSHM is working with New Jersey to raise awareness of the risk of underage drinking in Morris County and working to prevent the sales and consumption to underage persons. Currently, CCSHM has been handing out tool kits to all different types of liquor outlets – restaurants, bars, liquor stores, etc – that include a 2018 ID book, a black light, and some more information on encouraging people to always check ID.