For many years, Ocean County and Monmouth County, NJ have been considered hotbeds for illegal and dangerous opioid usage. Controlled substances including Oxycontin and Percocet were being abused and distributed at an alarming rate. However, there is reason to believe that these trends are beginning to reverse. As reported in an nj.com article from earlier this week, Ocean and Monmouth County were the only two New Jersey areas to report fewer overdoses and opioid related fatalities in 2017 when compared to 2016.
Today, our opioid possession defense attorneys will discuss the history of opioid issues in our local Monmouth County communities, identify some encouraging statistics, and offer help to residents who may be struggling with issues of substance abuse and/or addiction.
Monmouth and Ocean Counties’ History as the “Epicenter” of New Jersey Opioid Problems
One of the challenges facing law enforcement and other local authorities is a lack of information regarding the opioid epidemic. Since opioids are frequently used illegally, it is hard to get a grasp on how many individuals may be using, distributing, or abusing these dangerous drugs. Unfortunately, statistics of fatal overdoses, arrests, and hospitalizations become the go-to for status reports. One such example is the administration of a drug known as Narcan.
Since 2015, over 15,000 lives have been saved by Narcan in New Jersey alone. Narcan is an inhaled nasal spray which is effective in counteracting overdoses for individuals using opioids and/or heroin. Unfortunately, the overall usage of these preventative measures appears to still be on the rise in most areas. Monmouth and Ocean Counties seem to be notable exceptions where law enforcement hopes to identify patterns and implement similar strategies across the state.
Ocean County Opioid Usage Statistics Show Significant Reduction
With the exception of Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey suffered an increase in the administration of Narcan over the past year, with approximately 28 percent more incidents overall. Camden County in particular saw the number of uses increase 127 percent from 1,098 in the 2016 fiscal year to 2,493 times in 2017. Our drug crimes defense attorneys understand that these numbers do not necessarily paint the full picture. Law enforcement officers have been given greater access to Narcan, which may also lead to increasing numbers of administration amongst other variables.
Ocean County experienced 163 fatal overdoses in 2017 compared to 216 in 2017. When it comes to administering Narcan as treatment for opioid overdose, the numbers fell approximately 36 percent over just one year.
Monmouth County experienced 36 fatal overdoses in 2017 as compared to 42 in 2016. Narcan was administered six (6) percent less in 2017 than in 2016 across Monmouth County.
New Jersey Narcotics and Drug Hotlines
These numbers in our local communities are encouraging, but still have a long way to go. Many individuals continue to struggle with substance abuse and may feel helpless. If you or a loved one needs help with issues stemming from opioid, heroin, or any other drug issues, please consider contacting any of the following resources:
Contact our Red Bank Opioid Possession and Distribution Defense Lawyers Today
The criminal defense attorneys of Chamlin, Rosen, & Uliano understand that issues of drug addiction and substance abuse are extremely serious. Not only could you face severe criminal charges, but you also may be endangering the lives of yourself and your family. Our firm has extensive experience serving clients charges with drug related crimes in local Monmouth County towns such as Asbury Park, West Long Branch, Middletown, Howell, Red Bank, Freehold, and all of Central New Jersey. If you are facing criminal charges stemming from drug possession or distribution, we are here to protect your legal rights through aggressive litigation and examination of the evidence being used against you.