Heroin use, overdoses on the rise in Monmouth, Ocean counties

Officials in Monmouth County are warning against increased heroin use in the area, as deaths by overdose are on the rise. (1/24/14)

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS - Officials in Monmouth County are warning against increased heroin use in the area, as deaths by overdose are on the rise.

One of the most recent victims was a 17-year-old from Atlantic Highlands, who managed to survive after he flatlined and was revived by EMTs.

Detective Sgt. Thomas Stone says the danger lies in what unknown substance might be in the heroin. "Who knows what's in it? Where it's coming from, what it's cut with," he says.

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Ryan Clark, 20, was arrested after 300 bags of heroin, crack, needles and pills were found in the home. He now sits in the Monmouth County Jail. "The quantity was substantial," says Stone. "We believe it was one of our main supplies for this area."

Police say one of the reasons heroin has regained popularity is due to pricing. One pill of Oxycontin may go for as much as $25, but a hit of heroin on the street may cost just $3.

There's a major effort to push down heroin use in Ocean County as well, where the numbers are staggering. In Ocean County last year there were 112 fatal drug overdoses, the majority from heroin. That's compared with 53 in all of 2012.

With use on the rise, rehab clinics are busy. David Friedman, of Advanced Health and Education, says 70 percent of their clients are trying to kick heroin addiction. "You're talking about a huge love affair that they have with the heroin," says Friedman.

And if they don't get "after care," Friedman says, clients will likely relapse. He says heroin is a habit that's very hard to kick which is why police and prosecutors are trying so hard to keep it off the streets. 

Employees at the clinic say they expect a spike in patients after Super Bowl weekend, when the partying around the game stops.

For extended interviews on heroin use in Monmouth Co., watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.

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