For New Jersey families, heroin and opiate addiction hits a lot closer to home than many want to admit.
More than 100 residents from throughout the state gathered at the Monmouth County Library in Manalapan Thursday for the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse's third hearing on drug and alcohol addiction.
During the forum, two familes spoke to the task force about their experiences with rehab groups, outpatient therapy and insurance and what they deemed skewed priorities, or lack thereof, in treatment because of insurance coverage.
The father of an addict addressed the task force about problems he experienced with insurance and rehab while his son went through a heroin addiction that ultimately took his life.
“The day my son went to buy those drugs I wish his car had been stopped and he was arrested because maybe, just maybe, he would have been forced into a program," said Dominick Coppola, of Bridgewater. "He may have had a better chance."
In addition to family members who lost loved ones, former addicts shared their experiences with addiction, mentioning what worked well for them and what did not.
Doctors currently working to advance addiction treatment also took the microphone.
“Addiction is a disease, nobody wakes up in the morning and says ‘I think I’ll become an addict today,' ” explained Dr. Louis Baxter, president and executive medical director at the Professional Assistance Program of New Jersey.
“It’s a brain disease that affects all parts of the body and is like other chronic medical illnesses that we accept today, like diabetes.”
The next hearing for the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at the Cooper Medical Center in Camden.
For more information about the Governor’s Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse visit www.nj.gov/treasury/gcada.