Heroin deaths in NJ three times national rate

 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)

Heroin use in the U.S. continues to rise, according to a new CDC report that found overdose deaths have tripled nationwide since 2010.

Heroin use is up among all demographic groups, said Deb Houry, who directs the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the CDC, one of the groups that worked on the study.

“So what we’re really seeing now is a diffusion across society, and that’s what’s concerning,” she said. . “It could be your neighbor, your friend, somebody you go to school with. It really impacts all of society in the United States now.”

Data analyzed by NJ Advance Media shows rates in New Jersey are at least three times the national average.

Heroin overdose has now surpassed homicide, suicide, car accidents and AIDS as the cause of death in the Garden State. It is cheaper to purchase illegally than prescription pain medications, and it’s easy to obtain on the streets.

The problem is particularly pronounced in New Jersey, and it’s become even more deadly through the use of heroin laced with the highly potent drug acetyl fentanyl.

Lynn Kovich, assistant commissioner of the state’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said the state is working to reduce that death rate by making it easier for users to access treatment services.

“We launched on July 1 what we’re calling an Interim Managing Entity. UBHC from Rutgers is managing our array of addiction services,” said Kovich. “But, even in two weeks, we have seen the benefits of having these services managed and having one central place for folks to call.”

The new addiction line is getting up to 300 calls a day.

New Jersey ranks fourth in the country for admissions to heroin treatment programs.

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