Federal, State and Local Organizations Tackle Heroin in New Initiative and Unveil Heroin: The Ride That Never Ends
OCT 15 -- Special Agent in Charge Michael Pasterchick, Jr., of the Drug Enforcement Administration New Jersey Division (DEA-NJ), together with Carolann Kane-Cavaiola Assistant Commissioner of New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Addiction Services (DAS) and President Diane Litterer of New Jersey Prevention Network (NJPN) unveiled today a new curriculum and DVD focused on heroin for drug prevention educators. This partnership allowed for the fields of prevention and law enforcement to combine efforts to produce a state of the art prevention curriculum.
Statistics regarding heroin in the state of New Jersey reveal a problem of concern to law enforcement, prevention, and treatment professionals. DEA-NJ has seized more than 360 pounds of heroin this year, representing an increase of 617% over the last five years. Widespread use of the drug has swelled in many communities, including urban, suburban and rural areas. Within the past five years, New Jersey has consistently ranked in the top five for heroin seizures in the country. Pasterchick states, “New Jersey also has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest purity of street heroin in the nation,” a fact documented by DEA’s Domestic Monitoring Program. Samples show purity as high as 95% with an average of 71.4%. The Program monitors street level heroin purity in 23 major cities across our nation.
The New Jersey Alcohol and Drug Abuse Data System reveal that 49% of all drug treatment admissions are for heroin use. The New Jersey Office of the State Medical Examiners reports that of the 904 drug-related deaths occurring in 2003, 423 involved heroin/opiates, or 47%.
NJPN’s 21 member agencies throughout New Jersey report an increase in requests for information regarding heroin prevention programs from parents, schools and faith-based organizations.
Due to the issue of heroin use facing the state, DEA-NJ, DAS and NJPN collaborated to create a unique state-of-the-art video and training program titled Heroin: The Ride That Never Ends. This program will provide training and education for students, parents and professionals. The objective of this program is to provide information about the dangers of heroin use for students, awareness for parents and intelligence for professionals. By infusing this powerful information into New Jersey communities, the collaborative groups hope to empower youth to recognize the risks and dangers of heroin use, and make healthy choices.
This initiative has been top priority throughout the organizations for the past year. During this time, they have been developing strategies for the curriculum and interviewing adolescents, parents and professionals that live with this crisis every day. The program encompasses information from medical doctors, law enforcement, state government, prevention professionals, adolescents and parents. The end result is a realistic approach to heroin prevention education and awareness for New Jersey’s youth.