New Jersey Drug Overdose Deaths Two Times Higher Than Road Fatalities
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Drug overdose deaths in New Jersey have risen sharply in recent years, taking over road fatalities as the leading cause of accidental death in the state, according to recent data.
In 2014, there were 1,310 accidental deaths from heroin, cocaine, and prescription drugs, while road fatalities totaled only 561. Although many accidental drug-related deaths were from prescription drugs, nearly half the deaths were a result of heroin overdose.
There are myriad factors contributing to the spike in heroin-related deaths in New Jersey, including increased purity, mixing with other narcotics, low cost, and a recent development that makes the illegal drug incredibly easy to obtain.
“Dealers are even delivering to the door of suburban kids, they don’t have to drive to Paterson to get it,” said Sue Marchese-Debiak, coordinator of the Office of Alcohol and Drug Dependency Services at the Bergen County Department of Health.
The state has responded to the climbing heroin-related deaths by approving the use of naloxone by first responders, who have already deployed the life-saving drug more than 60 times since 2014.
Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, said that the state's data can be used to help prevent drug-related deaths, and other types of accidental deaths as well.
“Injuries are not just acts of fate,” said Levi. “This report illustrates how evidence-based strategies can actually help prevent and reduce motor vehicle crashes, head injuries, fires, falls, homicide, suicide, assaults, sexual violence, child abuse, drug misuse overdoses and more.”