Substance Use Disorder Information and Resources

Substance Use Disorder - A Chronic Disease

Substance use disorder is a chronic and often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive substance seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the individual and to those around them. Although the initial decision to take substances is voluntary for most people, changes in the brain challenge the person's self-control and hamper their ability to resist intense impulses to take substances. 

Similar to other chronic, relapsing diseases,  substance use disorder can be managed successfully. However, relapse can occur when an individual begins using substances again. Importantly, relapse does not signal treatment failure--rather, it indicates that treatment should be reinstated, adjusted, or an alternative treatment is needed to help the individual regain control and recover. 

Substance Use Prevention

Substance use disorder can be prevented through screening and early intervention. Warning signs in teens can include:

  • alcohol, smoke or other chemical odors on your child’s or their friends’ breath or clothing
  • obvious intoxication, dizziness or bizarre behavior
  • changes in choice of friends 
  • frequent arguments
  • sudden mood changes and unexplained violent actions
  • changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • loss of interest in usual activities or hobbies

 Find more information on teen substance use prevention.

Adults can also be at risk of substance use disorder as they cope with the stress of big life events or financial pressures. Find more information on adult substance use

Find substance use disorder education and prevention services in your area. 

Treatment Options

Treatment for substance use disorder can take place in different settings (inpatient or outpatient) and at different degrees of intensity. Typically, one’s treatment plan is designed to address their physical, psychological, emotional, and social issues, in addition to their substance use and can therefore be very individualized. Learn about all treatment options to ensure the individual is receiving the most appropriate treatment for them. View the NJ Addiction Treatment Directory to see options near you.

ReachNJ is a 24-hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week hotline for those who have substance use disorder or friends and family of people with substance use disorder. At ReachNJ, callers can get immediate assistance and support from trained counselors. Counselors can also connect callers to treatment. Call 844-732-24657 to speak to a ReachNJ counselor.

Continuing Treatment

Recovery Housing and Programs
Recovery housing programs are supportive communities designed for those who have recently received treatment for substance use disorder. These communities provide a safe and healthy environment to learn how to sustain long-term recovery. Find recovery housing in your area. 

Relapse Prevention
Preventing a relapse is more than just saying "no" in the face of temptation. Prevention needs to start early and before temptation presents itself. In fact, a comprehensive relapse prevention plan accounts for social interactions, emotional triggers, and the development of positive coping mechanisms. 

Recovery can and often is difficult, but it is worth it. Create a relapse prevention plan and detect early warning signs in order to make good choices during the journey to recovery. Attending substance use disorder counseling can also help prevent relapse. 

Substance Use Disorder Support Groups

Support groups provide a space for individuals with similar experiences to share their personal stories and express emotions while finding encouragement and understanding. Find substance use disorder support groups.  

Family Resources

Family members of those with substance use disorder often find themselves walking a fine line. The best way to help a family member with substance use disorder is to learn about substance use disorder. Community-based support groups, such as Al-Non, Nar-Anon, and Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) provide support to family members of an individual with substance use disorder. Some families may also choose to participate in one-on-one therapy sessions with a professional counselor. For more information, support and assistance, call NJ Connect for Recovery at 855-652-3737 from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm on weekdays, 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm on weekends, and 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm on holidays. 

Opioid Epidemic

115 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose. The opioid overdose epidemic, which began in the 1990s, refers to the variety of behaviors and events related to the abuse of prescription painkillers and/or opium-derived illicit substances. Find out more information on the opioid epidemic and opioid use disorder. Find an opioid detoxification program in your area. 

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