Overdose Fatalities On The Rise In New Jersey
The National Safety Council (NSC) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit agency dedicated to promoting health and protecting life in the United States. The organization reports on and works to improve conditions in homes, at work and on the road. A recently published NSC report finds that drug and alcohol overdoses are the number one cause for accidental death in New Jersey – more than car accident fatalities.
Like the rest of the nation, New Jersey recognized the wave of prescription drug abuse and responded strongly. State, along with federal officials, clamped down on access to prescription drugs. Making prescription drugs harder to get was seen as one way to reduce fatalities.
How Is The Problem Being Handled?
While efforts to place tighter controls has been effective to some extent, in another it may have only renamed the problem. Limited access has led to the street value of pills costing somewhere around $40 a piece, so many people simply switched to heroin, which is from the same family of drugs as prescription painkillers. It’s more powerful and less costly than it’s ever been, allowing drug abusers to switch to heroin when prescription pills are out of reach.
Substance abuse experts say that around 800,000 people in the Garden State have a drug or alcohol problem, yet just 10 percent ever ask for help. One clear way to bring down the number of accidental overdoses is to do a better job of convincing citizens to get help to break free of substance abuse.
The NSC says that the surge in overdose fatalities combined with the number of falls by senior citizens makes New Jersey homes the number one danger zone. New Jersey is not alone, however. Alcohol and drugs were reported as the leading cause of death in 20 states across the nation.