New Jersey Police Take Down Mobile Heroin Mill Allegedly Linked to 15 Overdoses
On March 29th, New Jersey State Police noticed a Dodge Durango in a hotel parking lot with a counterfeit temporary license plate. Upon inspection, they realized the vehicle had been reported stolen from Shreveport, Louisiana.
Police arrested a 26-year-old man, Marlon Lopez, as he left his hotel room and entered the vehicle. Searching the hotel room revealed various items of narcotics packaging paraphernalia, 145 bricks of heroin, 80 grams of raw heroin, 2 pounds of marijuana, and stamps labeled “Stay Still” and Respect the Game.” These stamps have been found on bags of heroin linked to 15 overdoses–3 of them fatal.
Lopez was arrested and charged with operating a heroin production facility, possession of heroin and marijuana, with the intent to distribute both substances, possession of controlled dangerous substances paraphernalia, and receiving stolen property.
The New Jersey Opioid Crisis
While getting deadly batches of heroin off the streets is crucial, there is still much work to be done in the Garden State regarding the opioid epidemic.
In 2018, opioids (mostly heroin and prescription pills) caused 2,583 fatal overdoses in New Jersey—about 90% of overdose deaths. New Jersey is considered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to be one of the states struck the hardest by the opioid epidemic, with 29.7 fatal opioid overdoses per 100,000 people in 2018.
New Jersey, like many other states, is combatting this serious problem by creating a special police task force that targets illegal opioid manufacturing and distribution, expanding treatment availability for people struggling with addiction, and allocating support for harm reduction resources.
Naloxone—an opioid overdose reversal drug—is available at many pharmacies in New Jersey without the need for a prescription. There have been several events where packs of Narcan, a nasal spray device containing naloxone, were given out to people that requested them free of charge.
If administered immediately, naloxone can pause an opioid overdose, allowing enough time for emergency services to arrive and provide further help. New Jersey and other states have also passed Good Samaritan Laws that protect people who administer aid and seek help for someone undergoing an opioid overdose.
Naloxone has saved many lives and will likely save many more. However, without getting and remaining sober, many people struggling with an opioid addiction will not be so lucky. Effective treatment for drug or alcohol addiction involves a full continuum of care, including:
- Detoxification, allowing patients to withdraw safely from substances they’ve become physically dependent on.
- Treatment, where patients form positive coping mechanisms, get inspired to stay sober, and learn how to stay focused on recovery.
- Aftercare planning. After completing rehabilitation treatment, it’s important someone in recovery builds a supportive network conducive to sobriety.
Sunrise House, located in Sussex County New Jersey, provides:
- Excellent inpatient/residential care,
- Weekly 12-step recovery meetings (open to the public),
- Access to an alumni program that holds meetings and special social events,
- A recovery app that allows former patients to monitor their recovery progress, participate in wellness challenges, remain in contact with their peers,
- And much more.
Addiction is a chronic disease, but it is treatable. With the right help, many people lead fulfilling lives in recovery. Please reach out to an admissions navigator at if you or a loved one needs help.
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