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The complex relationship of mental health and alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse

  • Introduction

Among the various goals of government public health in New Jersey, there is the goal to improve public health via strengthening community and government partnership. The governmental public health departments of New Jersey in the past five years have led city-based and country strategic planning processes around the state through engaging more than 1200 community partners. The departments with the community partners have performed a comprehensive analysis of the communities and come up with health improvement plans for New Jersey regions. The top health priority issue for New Jersey was identified, which are Tobacco, alcohol and other drugs that have an impact on mental health, nutrition, obesity and fitness; case; access to care, and cardiovascular diseases. This paper will provide an in-depth discussion on the health problem of tobacco, alcohol and other drug abuse which have a complex relationship with mental health.

Berlin New Jersey

Berlin New Jersey is among the eleven forms and five types of municipal government (borough) located in Camden country, New Jersey, U.S/. The population of Berlin according to the 2010 Census of the United States was 7,588 showing an increase of 1,439 of the 2000 Census (23.4%). Camden Country Human Services and the Department of Health have hundreds of services and programs for the public. The services include a range of specialized health programs such as cancer screening referrals, for men and woman, adult health services, school health, family planning services, Child Health Clinics and other specialized health services targeting families with Children with developmental delays and special needs.

The cost of living according to March 2012 Index was at 101.6. The land areas cover 13.7 square miles while water is covers 0.2 square miles. The population density is 915 people per square miles. Female population is 6467 (51.7%) and males population is 6,053 (48.3%). 90% of the population has attained a high school and college education. 26.0% has a bachelor’s degree and higher. 7.6% has professional and graduate degree. 7.3% are unemployed.

  • Demographic and epidemiological data:

Teen depression and alcohol abuse and senior, prescription drugs misuse, and the negative results of mixing alcohol with prescription drugs are attributed to be a significant factor leading mental health challenge in Berlin, New Jersey. CDC undertook behavioral risk factor surveillance to residents of Camden County between 2003 and 2009. The reports from this surveillance system showed that 46.3% had smoked more than 100 cigarettes in their lives. Also in the past month 77% of adult residents had drunk alcohol. People living in group quarters including Berlin showed that 35 people in halfway houses and homes are involved in alcohol and drug abuse. Camden County from the surveillance was number 86 of the top 101 counties having the highest percentage of drunken people. It was number 64 of the top counties with most wine, beer and liquor stores for 1000, 000 populations in 2010. The county was number 75 of the top counties with the highest number of residents who have smoked over100 cigarettes in their lives (CDC, 2009).

  • Windshield survey:

Alcohol and drug abuse are a risky behavior that causes other health problems such as heart diseases stroke, cancer and mental problems. Drug and alcohol addictions, crime, low educational level, poverty and crime are among the most challenging risks that impact on Berlin community. This means that the community should consider setting up stop alcohol and smoking programs, counseling services and mental health counseling programs to assist community members.

  • Problem

Based on the reports given by Healthy People 2020, tobacco addiction and use and alcohol abuse can be addressed through community-based and educational programs. These programs should be provided to senior high schools, middle and elementary students as part of comprehensive school health programs that will help students understand alcohol and drug abuse dangers. Other strategies to reduce tobacco and alcohol use in communities and families is through increasing their price, funding programs for alcohol and tobacco control, access control, enacting smoke-free policies, media campaign for anti-tobacco use, and assisting and encouraging alcohol and tobacco users to quit (Fiore, Jaen, Baker, et al 2008).

  • Summary:

Substance abuse is closely linked to behavioral and mental health. This calls for the need to establish addiction services and mental health counseling services since there is a major gap in Berlin’s, New Jersey health care system. These areas are lacking especially for the most at risk population who are teenagers and the elderly population. This makes many people reluctant to seek help due to the stigma related to mental health problems. Substance abuse is a major challenge in Berlin since there is a growing problem with abuse of prescription drugs even pain killers and other drugs abuse. All these problems have a major contributing factor to the mental health problem currently experienced in Berlin, New Jersey.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009) Cigarette smoking in adults and smoking cessation—United States, MMWR. 58(44):1227-32

Fiore M, Jaen C, Baker T, et al (2008) Clinical practice guideline: Treating tobacco use and dependence. Rockville, Health and Human Services Department

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