The amount of drug overdoses is on the rise throughout the state and in the county, and Cape May County Prosecutor Robert L. Taylor warned the mixture of heroin with a powerful substance that is distributed legally is responsible for many of these incidents..Since the beginning of the year, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office and local municipalities have responded to 23 overdoses related to the use of heroin and other dangerous substances, Taylor said in a statement issued Tuesday morning.
During the course of these investigations, paraphernalia that suggests heroin use and, in some cases, empty wax paper folds usually marked with an identifying stamp on the bag have been located at the scene.
Law enforcement officials have also seized bags of heroin as evidence during several other narcotic criminal investigations.
The bags have been submitted to the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Forensic Laboratory and have tested positive for heroin mixed with fentanyl, an extremely powerful and deadly drug that is 100 times more potent than heroin.
Fentanyl is legally available, and is distributed as a skin patch, lozenge, pill, shot, film that dissolves in the mouth or intervenes. When taken illegally, it is converted into powder form and mixed with heroin at a dangerous and uncontrolled level.
A dangerous amount of fentanyl in the system can lead to health problems and may prove fatal.
The County’s Gangs, Guns and Narcotics Task Force is working with the police departments within the county, as well as narcotics task forces from neighboring counties to target drug dealers who are mixing heroin with fentanyl and distributing the deadly mixture on the streets.
The bags seized by law enforcement officials are being used to identify the potential source of these distributions, and that having a laboratory within the county prosecutor’s office has been helpful in determining the identification of the substances quickly.
The Prosecutor’s Office continues to send representatives to local school districts and community groups to educate people on the dangers of these substances with a presentation called “Pills to Heroin.” The program is for children in middle school and high school, as well as adults of all ages.