Are Heroin Busts Stemming New Jersey’s Epidemic?
You can't go a week in New Jersey without hearing about at least one major heroin bust.
The state is turning into one big hot spot for the deadly drug, along with many other locations across the country.
And while enforcement has been ramped up over the years, resulting in seizure after seizure, it still may not be making much of a dent in the overall supply.
In Ocean County, one area where New Jersey's epidemic is hitting the hardest, forensic labs analyzed more than 60,000 wax folds of heroin in 2015 alone - the product of more than 3,300 separate cases.
"The captain of our drug enforcement unit relates to me that he doesn't see any downtick in the problem," said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office. "The overdoses continue, the deaths continue."
Della Fave referred to Narcan, an opioid reversal medication, as a "finger in the dam." It was used in Ocean County hundreds of times in 2015, and has been administered more than 7,500 times statewide since 2014.
And, according to Della Fave, increased drug enforcement has forced the bad guys to become smarter on the street - carrying less product in case of a bust.
Nearly 23,000 bags of heroin were seized in Cape May County over the course of 2015, according to county prosecutor Robert Taylor.
"It came out to be 687.84 grams," Taylor said.
Taylor was more optimistic in his county's fight against the heroin problem, insisting they've made a dent by taking down at least two drug kingpins in 2015 alone.
Using the latest data from 2014, Sgt. Jeff Flynn of the New Jersey State Police said that year brought more than 506,000 heroin specimens to their forensic laboratories, stemming from 11,160 seizures.
"We're trying to seize as much of these drugs as we can," said Flynn. "If we can prevent them from getting in the hands of dealers, we can potentially save lives."