With more and more NJ residents becoming addicted to heroin every day, law enforcement is really starting to crack down on drug crimes involving heroin. The heroin epidemic has become a major priority for New Jersey authorities as the media highlights the growing number of “heroin babies” being born in the state.
According to data maintained by the NJ Department of Health, more than one out of 50 babies born in the Garden State suffers from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). That amounts to 638 babies born with NAS, which is more than double the number of babies born annually with this specific health problem as recently as eight years ago. The problem is especially bad in certain areas of the state, including Atlantic County, Cape May County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Burlington County, and Sussex County.
A baby can develop NAS as a result of being exposed to addictive illegal drugs while in the mother’s womb. In other words: when a pregnant woman ingests drugs, her baby also ends up ingesting the drugs.
Workers in emergency rooms and Neonatal Intensive Care Units across New Jersey are bearing witness to the devastating consequences of heroin addiction and abuse. Sharon Burke, the director of Infant and Toddler Rehabilitation at Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick NJ, said that the problem of NAS has been exacerbated by the increased availability of prescription opioids. In fact, it is prescription painkillers that often serve as a gateway drug to heroin, which is a cheaper and more readily available alternative to prescription opioids.
For additional information, view the NJ.com article, “‘Heroin Babies’ Skyrocketing in N.J. as Statewide Epidemic Grips Newborns.”
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a drug crime like illegal prescription drug possession or heroin possession, you need to talk to a qualified criminal defense lawyer. The experienced South Jersey criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you fight your drug offense charges and avoid the most severe penalties. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation about your case.