EDISON - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released a video message Monday, reminding Americans that heroin addiction affects everyone in every community.
The head of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey applauds Holder's message, and says it helps shine a national spotlight on the problem.
Angelo Valente says New Jersey has been focused on the issue for years and warns heroin has reached what he calls epidemic levels in the state. He says the problem exists in all communities, not just urban areas.
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The Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey is working toward a solution by holding symposiums to discuss the issue, creating videos to warn young people, and holding drug take-back programs, according to Valente.
"Prescription drug abuse, for the last several years has been the number one drug of choice of many of our young people," he says. "As prescription drugs become more difficult to get access to, young people are turning to heroin. It's a lot cheaper, it's certainly readily available and accessible and it provides the same kind of high for individuals."
Valente tells News 12 New Jersey that last year, two New jersey families lost someone to opiate use every day.
During his speech today, Holder encouraged first responders to carry drugs like Narcan, which can reverse the effects of an overdose. While it may not solve the problem, he says, it can save the lives of many who are lost to heroin use each year.