More Heroin Overdose Deaths in South Jersey Raise Alarms for NJ Health Officials & Law Enforcement
The heroin overdose death rate in New Jersey continues to rise and is reaching staggering numbers across the state, especially in South Jersey. According to data from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, there could be as many as 160 heroin overdose deaths in Ocean County by the end of this year. That would be a shocking total and would really underscore the difficulties faced by law enforcement and prosecutors as they try to combat heroin-related drug crimes.
Joe Coronato, an Ocean County prosecutor, recently spoke with the media and said that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office typically has to investigate at least one heroin OD death every weekend. Coronato was careful to note that the problem of heroin addiction and abuse “is really, really getting bad” and doesn’t seem to be on the very of “calming down in the future.”
The problem of heroin overdoses isn’t much better in Hunterdon County, where nine fatal heroin ODs have already been reported so far this year. In 2015, there were a total of 12 fatal overdoses in the county. Anthony P. Kearns III, a Hunterdon County prosecutor, said that the use of Narcan by local police has actually helped to keep the total number of heroin-related fatalities down – but it’s still not good enough. Hunterdon NJ police have already deployed Narcan (also known as naloxone) to save the lives of 18 people suffering from heroin overdoses in 2016.
The fact that the total number of heroin overdose deaths remains so high even with a statewide campaign to publicize the dangers to heroin abuse and prescription opioid addiction, as well as the use of Narcan by more and more police departments throughout New Jersey, suggests that the problem could get a lot worse before it gets better.
One potential source of the rise in heroin OD deaths could be a practice employed with increasing regularity by South Jersey drug dealers: cutting heroin with much more powerful synthetic opiates. According to Coronato, these synthetic opiates are “so much more powerful than just plain old heroin” and the drug user’s body simply isn’t able to handle the combination, resulting in heroin overdoses and tragic deaths.
For additional information, view the NJ1015.com article, “It’s Getting Worse. ‘Unthinkable’ Spike in NJ Heroin Overdose Death Rate.”
If you are facing criminal charges for heroin possession, heroin distribution, prescription painkiller possession, or any other drug crime in New Jersey, you need to talk to a qualified criminal defense lawyer immediately. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could be subject to severe penalties that include incarceration in prison. Jill R. Cohen, Esq., is an experienced criminal defense attorney who will who help you fight your drug crime charges. Contact The Law Offices of Jill R. Cohen anytime to schedule a free consultation.