When medical examiners in Minnesota performed an autopsy on Prince, they reportedly learned that the celebrated singer and musician had fatally overdosed on fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a commonly prescribed opioid for people suffering from chronic pain. In many cases, the person getting a prescription for fentanyl is an end-stage cancer patient.
One of the reasons that fentanyl can cause overdoses, like the overdose that killed Prince, is that the prescription painkiller is 50 times more powerful than heroin. Now NJ lawmakers and medical experts are gearing up for a fight as they look to prevent fentanyl overdoses in the Garden State.
New Jersey is current in the midst of a prescription opioid crisis. Data released by the NJ Medical Examiner’s Office indicates that 150 NJ residents died as a result of fentanyl overdoses during the first six months of 2015, which is the most recent time period for which data is available. This represents a dramatic rise over previous years: it is more than the total number of fatal fentanyl overdoses during all of 2014 and it is eight times the rate of fentanyl overdoses in 2013.
Meanwhile, the heroin epidemic in New Jersey is also getting worse. Statistics show that more than 700 people died as a result of heroin overdoses in 2014, while nearly 130,000 NJ residents suffered from heroin abuse and addiction problems. Worse yet, the heroin overdose death rate went up in 2015.
Ultimately, New Jersey lawmakers need to find a way to stop the rise in drug overdose deaths, whether the fatal drugs are heroin, fentanyl or any other opioid.
Carl J. Kotowski, a special agent in charge of the Newark office for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), may have best summed up the prescription opioid crisis with three simple words: “Fentanyl is deadly.”
For additional information, read the NJ.com article, “Deaths from the Drug That Killed Prince Are Skyrocketing in N.J.”
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with illegal prescription drug possession, heroin possession or any other drug crime in New Jersey, the aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Rudnick, Addonizio, Pappa & Casazza PC will help you fight the charges. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.