Tag Archives: New Jersey

‘Good Samaritan’ bill nixed in N.J.

In New Jersey, where prescription drug addiction is a huge problem, advocates of drug overdose victims are criticizing Gov. Chris Christie’s rejection of a Good Samaritan bill. The governor claimed the measure was too narrowly focused on encouraging more reporting of drug overdoses, rather than other aspects such as drug abuse deterrence, violence prevention and public safety.

Good Samaritan laws aim to reduce overdose deaths by protecting people who call for medical help for overdose victims from being prosecuted for personal possession of drugs, paraphernalia or underage drinking. Even though opiate overdoses are on the rise, many people don’t call 911 out of fear of arrest and prosecution, and instead rely on ineffective methods of reviving victims. Nine states – New York, Illinois, Washington State, New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut – have already enacted such laws, and similar measures are currently pending in several others.

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Across the nation, heroin abuse spikes due to pill epidemic

The rise of prescription drug addiction has led to a corresponding increase in heroin abuse, with painkiller addicts turning to the hardcore street drug when pills become too expensive or scarce. And while the official statistics are slowly catching up to the reality, the best evidence of this trend comes from the trenches. The Denver Post has a heartbreaking new series detailing the lives of several young heroin addicts on the streets of Denver, while these recent articles examine the increase in heroin abuse in New Jersey, Maine, California, and Pennsylvania.

One huge factor behind the switch to heroin is the reformulation of OxyContin, one of the most commonly abused painkillers.

The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that heroin use has risen to 239,000 users in 2010 from 213,000 in 2008 – likely as a result of painkiller addicts switching to the street drug.

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