By: ATSI Admin
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New Jersey Turns to Dramatic Anti-Drug Ads
New Jersey has struggled with increasing heroin abuse in recent years. In an effort to make it stop, law enforcement, county and state officials, and health organizations have teamed up to find ways to discourage drug abuse. A new ad campaign in Bergen County seeks to curb the statewide abuse of opiates.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office has paid for four full-page ads to run in the local newspaper. These ads, which are intentionally dramatic, clearly spell out the trouble one can face as the result of selling or providing drugs to others. Two of the ads talk about the state’s strict-liability statute, which says anyone who supplies a drug to someone who overdoses can be charged for manslaughter. One of the ads also describes a couple whose 23-year-old son takes pain pills from his family’s medicine cabinet to a friend who overdoses. It reads: “You run a good household in suburban Bergen County. Your son and his girlfriend may be charged under New Jersey’s drug induced death law. 20 years in prison. For one oxycodone pill. Your oxycodone pill.”
The other ads tell parents they should know what their children are up to, to set ground rules for their house and to be careful with prescription pills. Opiates, a category of powerful drugs that include heroin and prescription painkillers, are highly addictive and often lead to death by overdose. Parents should watch for signs of heroin addiction among their teens and grown children, and seek help if they suspect a drug problem.
The Efforts to Curb Opiate Abuse
These ads are part of the fight against opiate abuse in New Jersey. In Bergen County alone, 13 people have already died from heroin overdoses this year, and statistics from the rest of the state are just as grim. The $17,000 it cost to run the ads came from the seized assets funds from the prosecutor’s office; money that largely comes from drug arrests. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said in a statement, “Today, with what’s going on out there, I think we’ve got to be much more creative and more aggressive in terms of our outreach.”
Molinelli also spoke about the ads and drug laws on his Twitter account: “How this law can affect even the best families is something every Bergen County parent needs to understand. Arresting those addicted to heroin will not solve anything. We need to focus on going after those who deal.”
Bergen County has focused on prosecuting opiate dealers for some time. Last year, in a three month period, the county arrested 90 people on drug possession charges and 12 more on trafficking charges.
The entire state of New Jersey has been trying different methods to put an end to opiate abuse, and hopefully these ads will make a dent. The Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse is planning to launch its own media campaign in May, following its recent report on heroin and opiate addiction.