MONMOUTH COUNTY – Statistics released recently paint a picture of Monmouth County’s fight to curb the opioid and heroin epidemic, according to a recent statement by the Prosecutor’s Office.
Based on the New Jersey State Drug Monitoring Initiative’s (DMI) most recent coverage period – from January 1, 2015 to March 31, 2017 – Monmouth County ranked fourth out of New Jersey’s 21 counties in overdose deaths resulting from heroin or opiate abuse.
On the flip side, the county ranks on the high side in the number of drug distribution and possession arrests, with 2,262 drug distribution arrests and 5,660 drug possession arrests during this over two-year-long time period.
There was also an increase in the number of drug seizures containing Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl was discovered and seized 275 times during this time period.
Overdose reversals using the opioid reversal spray Naloxone also remain high countywide, with the antidote being deployed 1,210 times to individuals during this timeframe, the 7th highest in the state. Fortunately, 90 percent of these deployments succeed in reversing a drug overdose and save the lives of the individuals they are administered to.
Monmouth County comes in 11th overall in the state when ranked by per capita, with an 8 percent decrease in its drug harms index.
According to the State Police, the Drug Monitoring Initiative was introduced back in 2009 in collaboration with the Office of Forensic Science to address the rising use of heroin and opiates, and the violent crimes and burglaries that are directly correlated to them. The DMI’s ability to quickly collect and analyze seized drugs enables law enforcement and healthcare officials to quickly notify the public of potentially lethal batches of drugs in the region as overdoses are reported.