New Jersey’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services recently released its annual list of heroin-abuse cases by municipality and Verona was among the towns with the lowest rate of problems.
Verona came in at number 416 out of 548 towns, with a rate of 1.69 cases per 1,000 people, or 23 total cases reported in 2018. Cedar Grove also had 23 cases, but with 1.82 cases per 1,000 people it ranked 403 on the list. Caldwell was ranked 438 with 11 cases, while Montclair was ranked 116 with 76 cases. The statistics are based on the number of people seeking treatment for heroin abuse in each town.
The towns that finished at the top of the state list by rate might surprise you. The top town was Seaside Heights, with 31.10 cases per 1,000 people or 90 cases overall. Egg Harbor City was second with 29.37 cases per 1,000 people (124 cases), while Atlantic City was third with 28.41 (1,110 cases). Newark had the largest number of cases, at 2,297, but that was a rate of 8.12 per 1,000 people.
For the Verona Municipal Alliance Committee (VMAC), Verona’s low ranking was a sign that substance abuse programs here are proving effective. “The members of VMAC are thrilled to learn that Verona residents are so successfully avoiding this terrible tragedy,” said Colin Boyle, chairman of VMAC. “We credit our strong community and partners in the schools, police, township and other organizations. Programs that increase knowledge about the dangers of alcohol and other substances while also giving the tools to resist temptations and make good choices are key to keeping the number of heroin abuse cases, and other substance use issues, low and moving even lower.”