NEW JERSEY– Killer numbers are grabbing the attention of those in the state of New Jersey, where heroin deaths are triple what they are across the U.S.
Blame it on the perfect storm of accessibility, affordability and acceptability.
This is the killer drug taking hold in the state of New Jersey, and exacting on a price. Despite record busts in the area, there seems to be no stemming the tide of the flow of heroin in the tri-state, decried by law enforcement.
"It is cheap, it is accessible," district attorney Kathleen Rice said. "It is on every street corner in Nassau County."
But it's especially heinous in New Jersey, where the number of deaths are three times what they are in nation-wide and from 2010 to 2013, according to CDC, they have steadily risen.
About 1 in 50 heroin users may die each year from their addiction, and while the heroin reversal drug Nalozone, now being used by law enforcement since 2014, has saved hundreds of overdose deaths, death rates still rose in 2014, with 781 people dying from their addiction.
In Camden and Atlantic counties, heroin kills more people annually than the flu and pneumonia combined, according to the state health department.
Every demographic group is affected and rehab facilities are nearly constantly full, often with young people under 30. Women, white people, adults aged 18 to 25 and people in higher income brackets-- previously at low risk for heroin usage-- all part of the spike.
And much blame is being placed on easy access to prescription opioids, which then become too expensive for addicts, who turn to heroin at just $4 to $6 a bag on the street.