New Jersey state officials recently identified several lethal brands of heroin which have caused at least six overdose deaths.
Wax folds stamped with “Power Hour,” “Strike Dead,” and “Taliban” are being sold as heroin throughout New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. According to New Jersey state police, these brands of illegal drugs contain an extremely potent mix of drugs which poses severe health risks to users. Although standard forms of heroin also present serious health risks, these brands of heroin are considered atypically dangerous.
Authorities identified the dangerous strains of heroin through the Drug Monitoring Initiative (DMI). The multistate, multi-agency program includes departments within New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The DMI allows these agencies to share information so that they can quickly identify dangerous drug mixtures and then easily disseminate information about the potentially lethal drugs. New Jersey Acting Attorney General Jay Hoffman praised the DMI as “a common sense, life-saving program that sounds the alarm when we identify lethal drug brands being peddled on our streets.”
Authorities acknowledge that heroin and opioid abuse have been responsible for the deaths of more than 5,000 people in New Jersey during the last decade. Moreover, the number of heroin-related deaths in New Jersey has sharply risen in recent years; while there were 287 reported heroin deaths in 2010, the number of heroin deaths in New Jersey was all the way up to 741 in 2013.
New Jersey law enforcement has responded by actively trying to prevent heroin abuse across the Garden State. Unfortunately, their efforts have been stymied by the recent mixes of heroin.
One way in which NJ law enforcement has attempted to stop heroin overdose deaths is by administering Narcan, the extremely effective opioid antidote which has been used by police and emergency responders to save hundreds of NJ heroin overdose victims in recent years. However, the life-saving drug, also known as naloxone, has been ineffective in combatting overdoses caused by the more dangerous brands of heroin. According to a sergeant with the New Jersey State Police, “…if they overdose, when first responders arrive, the Narcan is not going to save them.”
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many illicit drug users probably don’t realize that these brands of heroin are more likely to cause overdoses. That’s because the wax fold packaging is not unlike the kind of packaging which typically accompanies heroin.
New Jersey authorities hope that the recent warning issued about these dangerous brands of heroin will reach potential drug users in time.
For more information, see the NJ.com article entitled “Tainted Heroin Kills 6, N.J. Issues Warning About 3 Deadly Brands.”