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New Jersey's Opioid Epidemic, Alcohol and Marijuana Laws, and DUI Help

This guide was built for informational use only. It is meant to offer education, avenues for help, and resources regarding addiction. The information was compiled to the best of our abilities. Any laws listed in this guide is not legal advice. Please refer to your local jurisdiction for accurate/updated laws. We cannot be held liable for laws listed in this guide, however, they have been researched to the best of our ability. Our ultimate goal is to provide as many resources as possible for the residents of New Jersey.

Overview of New Jersey Resources

This guide was built specifically to help the residents of New Jersey or those interested in New Jersey. We will cover the most pressing health crisis in New Jersey: prescription opioids and heroin addiction. We will also cover the garden state's alcohol laws, marijuana laws, and DUI laws. We will give you DUI advice and what it could mean to be caught driving under the influence in New Jersey. We will provide resources and direct avenues for help. You don't have to face your problems alone. We can help you find help for addiction and will explain that throughout this guide.

Opioid Crisis

Unfortunately, the nationwide opioid epidemic hit New jersey particularly hard. Every year more and more people in The Garden State are becoming addicted to opioids, entering addiction rehabilitation programs, and/or dying as a result of their addiction. In 2016, Deaths from drug overdoses likely topped 2,000, killing more people than guns, car accidents and suicides combined, according to analysis by NJ Advance Media. The majority of these deaths are overdoses that can be attributed to the synthetic opiate fentanyl, which is 50-100 times stronger than morphine and up to 50 times stronger than heroin. Fentanyl is typically prescribed to terminally ill patients, like those dying of cancer. The drug has found its way into illicit drugs sold on the street due to its availability and cost. Fentanyl is cheaper and easier to manufacture than heroin, so many drug dealers have found they can increase the potency of their product while also increasing their profits.

"In 2016, Deaths from drug overdoses likely topped 2,000 in New Jersey"

Because fentanyl is so potent, users become physically dependent on the drug much quicker compared to other opioids, even heroin. The vast majority of fentanyl users have no idea they are even using the drug, since it is primarily used to “cut” heroin. Drug dealers are becoming extremely intuitive and have even begun to make counterfeit prescription painkillers. A large group of opioid users avoid heroin because they are aware of the trend of dealers using fentanyl to cut their heroin, so, instead, they try to stick strictly to prescription opioids. Recently, even this is proving to not be a sure bet of avoiding fentanyl. Multiple large OxyCodone seizures by law enforcement across the country proved to be fake pills containing the synthetic opiate.

Opioid related deaths are disproportionately affecting Millennials. In New Jersey, over a third of opioid related deaths were people between the ages of 25-35. Many of these young people start their drug use with prescription drugs, which later leads to illicit means of obtaining the drugs. Often times, young people are prescribed prescription painkillers when they are not necessary. Several doctors were arrested in the state for reckless and/or intentional illegal prescribing rates. One doctor, in North Caldwell, was arrested for running an operation that channelled more than 50,000 OxyContin pills all the way down the Garden State Parkway.

"In New Jersey, over a third of opioid related deaths were people between the ages of 25-35"

NJ family doctors have even been caught prescribing fentanyl themselves at alarming rates. In New Jersey, along with several other states, schemes are being uncovered that enticed doctors to prescribe the drug. Drug makers also underreported the risks associated with the powerful painkiller, along with other popular painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet. Federal investigations have been opened and several states have filed lawsuits against drug makers and drug suppliers. Popular names like Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, and Teva have found themselves under immense scrutiny.

It is important to lock up prescription drugs or dispose of them properly when finished taking them. An overwhelming majority of young people being treated for opioids addiction initially found opioid lying around the house, stole them from a medicine cabinet, or were given them by a friend who found them in their house.

"An overwhelming majority of young people being treated for opioid addiction initially found opioids lying around the house"

Prescription narcotics should be locked away in a medicine cabinet. When finished, most pharmacies have a drug disposal box. Carelessly leaving medication around the house could mean life or death for your children, or it could start them on a track to addiction. Teens who abuse opioids are far more likely to develop an addiction compared to adults. Below, you will see some teen-specific statistics relating to addiction.

New Jersey Teen Drug Use Statistics

  • A report by the Partnership for a Drug Free NJ found that the addiction rate in teens is not affected by whether they live in an urban, rural or suburban community
  • 39% of ‘tweens and teens ages 12–17 in NJ admitted to smoking marijuana at least once - US Department of Health and Human Services
  • The Governor’s Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse found that NJ has some of the cheapest, purest heroin in the country. A bag of heroin can be bought for as little as $5.
  • New Jersey has the sixth highest rate of fatal youth drug overdoses in the country, according to a 2015 report by the watchdog organization the trust for America's Health.
  • 10.7% of all deaths among people ages 12-25 are the result of a drug overdose.
  • 70% of NJ teens who abuse prescription drugs say they get them from a friend or relative - National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

Resources

If you are using prescription opioids, heroin, and/or fentanyl and need help stopping, you aren’t alone. There are many resources in the Garden State to help you stop using, whether it be medical detox, MAT, faith based rehab, NA or AA, or SMART, there is a group of peers or medical professionals that can help you stop your addiction today and turn your life around. You can call our representatives 24 hours a day, 365 days a years. We can find you a program that works for you and fits your specific needs. We focus on evidence based medical intervention and detox, which can drastically reduce the pain of withdrawal. Some other useful New Jersey resources are listed in the box to the right. Some are government programs and some are non-profit programs. If you don;t have insurance, some of these programs can help provide scholarships into addiction treatment programs.

Types of Medical Detox Programs in New Jersey

New Jersey Detox Centers by City

For you convenience, we have listed the largest cities in New Jersey to the left. When you click a city, it will show a list of the closest medical detoxifcation facilitites. Each listing will provide their phone number, website, services offered, payment options, and whether they accept Medicaid/Medicare. If you are in a crisis and need immediate help, call our toll-free crisis line, Our caring, licensed specialists can give you advice and help you find a solution to your problem. We can help you understand the detox process, how much it costs, and whether your insurance will cover it. Some insurance plans cover the entire expense of medical detox. If you don't see your city listed, please refer to our homepage where you can search by Zip code. We have every sity in the United States listed in our directory.

Alcohol Laws, FAQS, and DUI

Drinking Age:

An individual must be 21 to purchase or consume alcohol on a licensed premises. However, an individual under the age of 21 can consume alcohol if for religious reasons or under the supervision of a legal guardian at home.

Home Brewing:

A New Jersey resident over the age of 21 may engage in the personal manufacture (or home brewing) of up to 200 gallons of wine or malt alcoholic beverage (beer) for personal or household use or consumption. A permit is no longer necessary for this activity.

In certain circumstances, home brewing is also permissible outside the home if the site of brewing is an authorized “noncommercial” premises and is a licensed instructional facility. A permit is required for this activity.

Can non-licensed establishments allow BYOB? (Bring your own beer)

For the most part, yes. Unless local ordinance forbids it, establishments may allow customers to bring beer or wine.

If I go to a restaurant and order a bottle of wine and don’t finish it, can I take it home with me?

Yes. The Garden State, in fact, encourages this in order to promote responsible drinking. The state would rather you finish it later than feel obligated to finish at the moment. They find that this reduces drunk driving.

Can parents be held responsible for their kids when caught drinking?

Yes. Parents are expected to provide reasonable supervision for minors under the age of 18. Parents can be subject to a $500 fine for minors who get caught drinking multiple times.

Drive-up Windows at alcohol-selling establishments?

The Garden State does NOT allow the sale of alcohol at drive-up windows.

Open Containers

New Jersey does not allow open containers of alcohol in motor vehicles regardless of whether the driver or passengers are intoxicated. This can range from a $200 fine to 10 days of community service.

How late can I order liquor in New Jersey?

Alcohol sale hours are generally left to local governments, so check your local government website for specific details. The only state law regarding hours is the sale of packaged distilled liquor, which is 9am-10pm.

For more information on New Jersey liquor laws, visit: http://www.nj.gov/lps/abc/faqs.html

New Jersey DUI Laws and Resources

A DUI in New Jersey can be quite serious. It can bring large fines, license suspension, and even jail time even for first-time offenses. In New Jersey, you can refuse to take a chemical test. This results in an automatic 7-month license revocation for the first offense, a 2-year revocation for the 2nd offense, and a 10-year revocation for the 3rd offense. For more details on New Jersey DUI laws, visit: https://dui.drivinglaws.org/jersey.php

If you get a DUI in New Jersey, it is wise to sign up for a DUI class as soon as possible. This could make you look willing to cooperate with the court and that you are taking responsibility for your actions. Here is more information on classes: https://www.alcoholdrugclass.com/New-Jersey-Drug-Alcohol-Classes.aspx

In New Jersey, a DUI can be charged for a person under 21 years of age if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02% or higher. For commercial drivers, it is .04%. For regular driving adults, it is .08%. To better understand BAC, here is a BAC calculator: https://dui.drivinglaws.org/calc.php

It may also help your case to attend an addiction treatment program. This can show the judge that you are actively trying to better your life and have a problem that you need to fix. This isn’t to say all people who get a DUI should receive addiction treatment, but if you believe you do in fact have a drinking problem, then treatment could help your case as well as help you turn your life around. Give us a call to learn about the first steps in the alcohol addiction treatment process. Our helpline is toll-free and available 24 hours a day.

Marijuana Laws and FAQS

Is Medical Marijuana legal? 

Yes. Patients may obtain the drug from a licensed dispensary. Home cultivation is prohibited.

Qualifying conditions:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer (includes associated chronic pain and/or severe nausea)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS (includes associated chronic pain and/or severe nausea)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Seizure and/or spasticity disorders
  • Any terminal illness if a doctor has determined the patient will die within a year

Illicit (non-medical) Use of Marijuana is Prohibited

but, in New Jersey, it carries lesser penalties compared to “hard drugs” like cocaine, meth, or heroin. The laws are as follows:

Possession under 50 grams:

Up to 6 months jail time and up to $1,000 fine, but few first-time offenders serve jail time. 100 hrs. of community service and additional fine if within 1000 ft. of school.

Possession over 50 grams:

Felony. Up to 18 months in jail and up to $25,000 fine.

If charged with “Intent to sell, manufacture, or distribute”:

  1. Less than 1 oz.: 4th-degree crime (18 months jail, $25,000 fine);
  2. 1 oz. to 5 lbs.: 3rd-degree crime (3-5 yrs. in prison, $25,000 fine);
  3. 5-25 lbs.: 2nd degree crime (5-10 yrs. in prison, $150,000 fine);
  4. Over 25 lbs.: 1st degree crime (10-20 yrs. in prison, $300,000 fine)