Law enforcement and health officials in New Jersey are growing increasingly concerned about the skyrocketing number of deaths from heroin overdoses in the state.
In addition to heroin OD deaths, overdoses from fentanyl and other prescription opioids also present a serious problem for authorities as they look to crack down on illegal drug distribution and drug use.
Heroin and fentanyl purchased on the street in NJ can be particularly dangerous because the drug user often has no way of knowing whether the narcotics they’ve purchased have been mixed with more potent drugs. Sometimes, drug dealers will mix in powerful drugs in order to increase the “high” of the user and prompt the user to come back as a repeat customer. Tragically, the more potent drugs can lead to serious health complications as the user overdoses.
In 2015, heroin overdose deaths in New Jersey increased by approximately 17 percent over the previous year, according to the NJ Medical Examiner’s Office. Meanwhile, fentanyl-related overdose deaths more than doubled from 2014 to 2015. Moreover, the early numbers for 2016 indicate that the problem is getting worse, not better.
Fentanyl became a major focus of the national media after famous musician Prince died earlier this year after overdosing on the extremely powerful prescription narcotic. However, there still hasn’t been a great deal of media coverage in New Jersey, where heroin deaths and fentanyl deaths have reached record numbers.
So far this year, Ocean County has seen 101 people die as a result of heroin overdoses. According to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, the total number of heroin-related fatalities during the first half of 2016 nearly equaled the total number of heroin OD deaths in Ocean County during the entirety of 2015.
For more information, read the Toms River Patch article, “N.J. Heroin, Fentanyl Deaths ‘Skyrocketing,’ New Data Shows.”
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a drug crime such as prescription drug possession, heroin possession, or marijuana possession, you need to talk to a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. The experienced South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you fight your drug crime charges. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.