New Jersey has been hit hard by the drug epidemic sweeping the country, and nowhere has been harder hit than down at the Shore. First attributed to high rates of prescription painkiller use and abuse, high rates of addiction and overdose across the country were fueled by increasing rates of heroin addiction. Today, the drug responsible for skyrocketing rates of drug overdose deaths is not heroin alone but rather fentanyl-laced heroin. A highly potent drug that can be deadly in minute amounts, both across the state and around the country, fentanyl use is responsible for a staggering number of lives lost.
Since 2014, fentanyl alone or fentanyl-laced heroin has made a horrific problem exponentially worse in New Jersey. In Ocean County specifically, an estimated 72 percent of the heroin seized in drug busts contained some amount of fentanyl, and since 2012, the number of deaths attributed to overdose has more than tripled. As of the beginning of this month, 153 people have died of drug overdose in Ocean County.