We all know that a drug addiction can be deadly and is claiming the lives of teenagers and adults all across our nation. Trying to get a handle on drugs in our country has become a number one concern for many politicians, especially when it is happening in our own backyard. And now with heroin addiction on the rise in the Garden State it is definitely time to take action to get a handle on this deadly epidemic.
A report released by NJ.com is reporting that heroin deaths are spreading across Ocean County with a record high 52nd fatal overdose of 2013 – that is one fewer than all fatal overdoses the country recorded in all of 2012.
“I don’t see it as a problem anymore. I see it as a crisis,” Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said in an Asbury Park Press report. “Is there a problem with cocaine? Absolutely,” Coronato also said in an interview discussing on how the spike in deaths appear to be a result of a poor economy, which has helped to lower the price of heroine to close to $5 a hit. “Is crack a problem? Yes. Why are we harping on heroin? Because it’s $5. You can’t buy cocaine for $5. You can’t buy Percocet for $5.”
Heading down the parkway further south, Cape May County is also dealing with its harsh reality thanks to heroin. The fatal overdoses in 2013 total is about to surpass 2012’s, according to Kenneth Super, chief of county detectives. NJ.com is stating that statewide records show the number of people between the ages of 18 and 25 seeking treatment for opiate addiction jumped by 12 percent between 2010 and 2011, the last year for which data is available. Back in 2011, there were 368 deaths related to heroin across the state, which is up from 287 in 2010, according to Roger Mitchell, the assistant state medical examiner.
In order to nip this problem in the bud, New Jersey needs to and must take immediate action to save the lives of our children. In an attempt to better educate our youth, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is starting to educate middle and high school students about drug abuse, an age when many users begin experimentation.
“We’re going to go into the schools. We need to go in strong. We need to make a statement,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph P. Coronato to the Asbury Park Press. “Who are we kidding if we think heroin isn’t in the schools.”
Although the presence of heroine may not be new to Ocean County but the increase in overdose deaths has aggravated law enforcement blaming it on everything from Hurricane Sandy to an increase in the purity of the drug.
"What I think we are seeing is epidemic proportions," said Rebecca Alfaro, director of prevention and training on the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. "This is a problem that is getting worse."