Both busts came as a result of the inquiry of concerned neighbors, according to police. Anthony F. Ambrose is the director of Newark Public Safety. He says: “This continuing operation began as a result of citizens coming forward and voicing their concerns. In response, our officers are actively addressing these issues to make our streets safer. Removing guns and drugs from our neighborhoods improves the quality of life for our residents and lets criminals know that we are being vigilant when it comes to reducing crime.”
In Atlantic County, during the same time period, five people were arrested and 10,300 bags of heroin and more than $11,000 in cash were seized in two more drug busts. It is clear that law enforcement is doing a great deal of work to respond to a recent spike in reporting of overdose deaths due to opiate use and abuse in different parts of the state.
To further contribute to the cause of helping to remove addictive substances from NJ streets, communities across the state held a Prescription Drug Takeback Day at the end of April, which resulted in more than 500 pounds of drugs being taken back.
Is removing substances and access to illicit drugs going to help lower rates of deaths due to drug overdose in New Jersey?
It’s a Start
Though it is true that simply cutting down on the flow of drugs into a community is not going to “cure” anyone of drug addiction, it can be helpful in terms of decreasing access to deadly drugs, especially among young people. It will not take long for other dealers to fill the gap left by those who are arrested, but it is important to maintain a standard and make it clear that there are penalties for pedaling deadly substances in the community in order to keep the problem in check to some degree. New Jersey law enforcement is certainly working hard to send that message, and the number of lives saved in the process cannot be known.
A Focused Effort for Positive Change
It is also important to note that drug interdiction is far from the only thing that New Jersey is doing to address the fact that the rate of overdose in the state is three times the national average and continuing to climb. Governor Christie has made the opioid epidemic the focus of the last part of his term in office. To that end, he has worked to increase the treatment services available and to improve access to those services by implementing statewide public service announcements. In addition, he is working to improve education among medical professionals to help them better identify those who are living with an active addiction. He has also increased access to naloxone among first responders and families in crisis, so that in the event of a drug overdose, the medication is on hand to reverse the symptoms before they turn deadly, giving the individual the opportunity to recognize the severity of the situation and connect with treatment.
What Is the Next Move for Your Family?
If someone you care about is struggling with opiate addiction, you can be proactive and reach out to connect with treatment. Even if they are not initially interested in getting help, staging an intervention and setting – and maintaining – boundaries can let them know that the time for change is now.
This is not a process you have to undergo alone. In fact, families have a great deal of support to not only understand the nature of addiction and the options available to their loved one in treatment but also to begin their own personal healing process. When addiction strikes, all involved must have support in recovering, and the sooner that process begins, the better.