Dealers now being charged in drug overdose deaths in New Jersey

     Ocean County, New Jersey, Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato talks about packets of confiscated heroin in 2013. Since then, heroin use and overdose deaths have continued to rise across the country and particularly in New Jersey. (AP file photo)

    Ocean County, New Jersey, Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato talks about packets of confiscated heroin in 2013. Since then, heroin use and overdose deaths have continued to rise across the country and particularly in New Jersey. (AP file photo)

    Law enforcement officials are dusting off rarely used drug laws, changing how they investigate crimes and relying on technology to prosecute drug dealers.

    The changes come as the number of heroin overdoses is skyrocketing nationwide.

    Prosecutors are starting to hold dealers accountable when a person overdoses and dies. They’re using technology and old-fashioned police work to trace the heroin back to a certain dealer.

    Those dealers are being charged with local and federal crimes that are rarely used because they can sometimes be hard to prove.

    But law enforcement officials say technology is changing that, especially cellphones and texting.

    Critics say the crackdown won’t stop heroin sales.

    Nationwide, the number of people who said they’ve used heroin in the past year skyrocketed by 66 percent between 2007 and 2011.

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