An ongoing drug investigation taking place across Essex County recently yielded seven arrests, according to the Office of the County Prosecutor. Additionally, hollow-point ammunition, drugs (including just under 125 grams of heroin with a street value estimated at $24,000), bulletproof vests, and cash were seized in the course of the narcotics task force-led investigation.
Carolyn Murray is Acting Prosecutor. She said: “The arrests today are an indication of the importance this office and the Newark Police Department put on combating illegal drug sales in Essex County. The seizure of this large amount of heroin, packaged for distribution, removes a significant quantity of heroin from the amount available for sale on the street.”
Arrestees included both men and women and ranged in age from 26 to 50, hailing from Newark and Irvington. Charges included conspiracy, possession and/or distribution of heroin, possession and/or distribution of drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of hollow-point bullets, and hindering apprehension.
Ongoing Effort to Repair
New Jersey state government agencies as well as local law enforcement have been working together with communities to create positive change in the effort to stem the destruction caused by heroin use and abuse. A serious addiction issue, the rate of deaths due to heroin overdose in New Jersey is triple the average rate across the country. In 2014, 781 deaths in New Jersey were attributed to use of heroin. With heroin purer than it’s ever been in the past and now often laced with highly potent – and lethal – fentanyl, it is expected that overdose death rates due to use of the drug will only increase in the coming years.
An increase in investigations like the one described above is just one of the many methods that are being used to address the problem. For example, increased access to naloxone, or Narcan, helped to save as many as 700 lives in New Jersey in only seven months. The medication can be used by paramedics, friends, or family members to stop the effects of opiate overdose if administered correctly and in time.
Additionally, working to connect those who are living with addiction to the treatment services that can help them heal is an ongoing focus for professionals working in the medical, psychiatry and psychology, pharmacy, and social work fields. Screenings, follow-up measures, and short-term treatment interventions are constantly under review and being improved.
Healing at Home
For many people who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction, connecting with treatment starts with the concern of someone at home. When a family member identifies use of alcohol or drugs as problematic, it is often a red flag that recreational use has become a serious issue. As consequences of drug use and abuse begin to accumulate, the attention of a family member and the suggestion of treatment can be the impetus for change that is needed.
Family members who are concerned about the health and welfare of a loved one struggling with substance abuse are encouraged to try the following steps:
- Have an honest conversation with the person in question and find out their opinion on their health and the best choices for the future. In most cases, the individual will either deny that there is a problem or suggest that it is possible to simply cut down use of all substances.
- If the person is hostile to the idea of treatment, family members can have a conversation amongst themselves about how best to proceed and what changes need to be made.
- If the person decides to stop using substances and is unable to do so without help, it is time to have another conversation about treatment. Should an informal request that the person get help be denied, families can then stage a formal intervention.
- Learn as much as possible about addiction, treatment options, and the kinds of services that may be most appropriate to the specific issues faced by the person living with addiction. The more directed and individualized the treatment program, the more likely it is to be effective.
True support for healing through treatment may not be popular initially, but it is often the only way that someone struggling with addiction will be able to avoid overdose, accident under the influence, and chronic illnesses associated with drug use.
What does your loved one need to avoid the life-threatening problems facing those who are unable to manage drug and alcohol use?