Last year, heroin-related overdoses caused 225 more deaths in New Jersey than car accidents and it’s continuing to get worse according to recent statistics. In fact, heroin deaths have been on the rise for more than four years in New Jersey.
Heroin-related Deaths by NJ County
According to data released by the NJ Medical Examiner’s Office, among all counties in New Jersey, Ocean and Monmouth County had the highest number of overdose deaths in 2014. The number of heroin death rose by 89 percent in Monmouth County, which includes Middletown, Freehold, Wall, Belmar and Neptune. The number of heroin death rose by 72 percent in Monmouth County, which includes Toms River, Point Pleasant, Seaside Park, and Long Beach Township.
Ocean and Monmouth Counties have routinely had among the highest number of heroin-related deaths in New Jersey in recent years. In addition, more New Jersey counties saw significant rises in the number of heroin overdose deaths as well. Those counties included Bergen County, Camden County, Middlesex County and Essex County. Passaic County saw the highest percentage increase in heroin overdose deaths since 2011.
Efforts of NJ Law Enforcement to Prevent Drug-Related Deaths
The article mentioned Narcan and how it has been successful in administering to overdose patients in Ocean County; however, “While its life-saving capacity is not in question, it does little to address addiction itself and reveals how widespread drug abuse is.”
New Jersey Drug Courts
NJ lawmakers are currently trying to combat the state’s heroin problem by offering possible alternate solutions. Many legislators recognize that the state’s current laws on heroin possession and heroin distribution have not been entirely effective in fighting heroin abuse. That’s why more and more state lawmakers are working to come up with alternative solutions, such as New Jersey Drug Courts, that focus on drug treatment and rehabilitation, as opposed to prison sentences.
Immunity for Seeking Medical Assistance (N.J.S.A. 2C:35-30)
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-30, victims of drug overdoses and witnesses to such overdoses will be able to seek medical assistance without fear of arrest, charge, prosecution, conviction, and revocation of parole or probation for possession or use of illegal drugs. The hope is that individuals experiencing an overdose or witnessing an overdose will take action immediately, as they will be protected from any adverse consequences of seeking assistance.
Get the Help You Need
If you have been arrested for distributing or possessing heroin, it is extremely important that you contact a NJ heroin defense attorney as soon as possible. Laws for heroin possession in NJ and intent to distribute drugs are outlined in N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5. It is unlawful for anyone to “manufacture, distribute or dispense, or to possess or have under his control with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense” a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) or an analog of a controlled dangerous substance. Possession and distribution of heroin are especially serious offenses because heroin is a Schedule I CDS as defined by the United States Controlled Substances Act. Call [dyna_phone phone=’1′ format=’dashed’] today to schedule a free consultation to get the help you need!