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Windshield survey provides an excellent opportunity to accomplish a community assessment. It is “a method of simple observation” (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2016, p. 408). It allows first-hand observation and evaluation of the community, its peculiarities, and problems.
The community under discussion is Newark, New Jersey. It is a rural community in Essex County with a population of 281,913 people (“Newark, NJ,” n.d.). Since 2000, the population of the city has observed an increase of 2.6% (“Newark, New Jersey,” n.d.). The community is relatively young with a median age of 34.6 that is lower than the median age in the state. Gender distribution is almost equal throughout the community with 49% of men and 51% of women.
Newark community is not rich with an estimated average household income of $30,966 that is more than twice less than the average of $72,222 in New Jersey (“Newark, New Jersey,” n.d.). The poverty rate of the community is 29% that is almost twice more than the average around the United States. African Americans make up the poorest population in Newark while Asians earn the biggest wages. Newark is not a popular tourist spot. However, its Prudential Center attracts both locals and guests to hockey and soccer games.
The target population for the Windshield Survey in Newark includes drug addicts. The survey findings revealed many cases of drug abuse in the streets of Newark, New Jersey. People with evident drug intoxication were noticed at the street corners, standing, sitting, or just leaning against the walls. Several cases of drug exchange were discovered as well.
Thus, the vulnerable population for this survey is drug addicts in Newark, NJ. There are no distinct statistical data concerning substance abuse admissions in Newark, but data about Essex county prove that it is one of the most abused counties in New Jersey. Thus, the total number of citizens with alcohol or drug addiction is 5,911 people that make 9% of all addicted people in New Jersey (Zhu, 2016). Only such counties as Ocean and Monmouth have a higher rate of substance abuse as of 2015.
The majority of those people are addict to heroin, alcohol, and marijuana. Moreover, Essex showed the highest addiction to cocaine (12% of total cocaine abuse in New Jersey) (Zhu, 2016). Also, Essex is one of the five counties with the highest substance abuse admissions as of 2015. In Newark, cocaine is one of the easily found powerful drugs (“Report on drug abuse in Newark, New Jersey,” 2017). The report states that this drug has many commuters from big cities such as New York.
Heroin is also found in many parts of Newark. The State of New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Addiction Services discovered that young adults aged 18 to 25 are frequent heroin users in Newark (“Report on drug abuse in Newark, New Jersey,” 2017).
Despite the improvements in the economy and infrastructure of recent decades, Newark has a burning drug problem. The majority of drug abusers are African American and Hispanic citizens who make up 48.6 and 35.6% of the population correspondently (“Newark, New Jersey,” n.d.). these population groups usually show worse health conditions and socio-economic status that also contributes to the increase of substance abuse. Most of the addicts are adult males aged 25-59. There are almost two times more drug addicts men than women.
The vulnerable status of adult African American and Hispanic drug abusers in Newark can be explained by a set of factors, both social and economic. Community distress is often connected with substance misuse (Newark Community Collaborative Board, 2016). First of all, this population group lives in low-income neighborhoods. The increased poverty rates and lower wages push people to seek ways to distract attention from daily problems. Another reason that significantly influences the drug situation in the community is that New Jersey has “the highest concentration of pharmaceutical and chemical firms in the country” (“Report on drug abuse in Newark, New Jersey,” 2017, para. 7). Frequently, some employees illegally take drugs from the producers and sell them.
The community takes some steps to manage the problem of substance abuse and has certain strengths that can assist the vulnerable population. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration informs about 27 drug rehabilitation centers found around the city (“Drug and alcohol recovery and rehab in Newark, New Jersey, 2017).
In the city of Newark itself, there function 12 various drugs and/or alcohol treatment facilities that provide diverse services to assist people who fight their addictions. Still, there is a problem with availability for some centers. However, troubles with vacant beds are characteristic of some rehabilitation programs that have limited funding. At the same time, programs funded by the state are usually free of charge and included in the insurance plans or are comparatively cheap and thus affordable even to a low-income population.
Living conditions in Newark show a tendency to improving. Thus, the median property value increased in Newark during recent years. The majority of the population rents their houses with only 20.8% of owners living in their houses. A lot of households own one car in Newark and some have two. The statistics reveal the fact that the majority of the working population in Newark use Drove alone to get to work (about 75%) (“Newark, NJ,” n.d.).
To provide healthcare access for the population, Newark has eight hospitals that provide patient care and emergency services. Some of the medical centers are voluntary and non-profit. Moreover, there are six nursing homes. On the whole, it can be concluded that healthcare and nursing services are available in Newark and they can assist the solution of the drug abuse problem.
Generally speaking, the Newark community observes certain social and economic issues that influence its population. Thus, the vulnerable group of adult drug-addicts developed partially due to the outside impacts. These social determinants that include low income and high poverty rates together with the availability of drugs cause the problem of drug abuse in the community. However, the community provides several opportunities to fight the addiction and help the vulnerable population group.
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These opportunities include rehabilitation centers and programs, both state-funded and commercial. Apart from rehabilitation possibilities, actions should be taken to prevent the addiction problem in the community. Thus, there is a need for more security measures at pharmaceutical and chemical companies to avoid stealing and re-selling drugs. Moreover, nursing interventions aimed at the promotion of healthy lifestyles can become components of prevention programs. Finally, the attention of local and state governments should be focused on the solution of economic problems in the region that cause high poverty rates, and support of social initiatives. The issue of this vulnerable population can be resolved through a complex approach.
Newark Community Collaborative Board. (2016). Newark drug role: Understanding the impact of substance use in Newark, New Jersey. Web.
Newark, New Jersey. (n.d.). Web.
Newark, NJ. (n.d.). Web.
Report on drug abuse in Newark, New Jersey. (2017). Web.
Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2016). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community (9th ed.). London, UK: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Zhu, L. (2016). Substance abuse overview 2015 statewide. Web.