Prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high in New Jersey, according to a recent investigation by the State Commission of Investigation. This independent watchdog tasked with investigating corruption and organized crime, recently published a report called “Scenes from an Epidemic.” Their study reveals an escalation in the cycle of painkiller addiction, profiteering from prescription drug abuse and patient dependence upon harder drugs such as heroin. This also includes a ready supply of illegitimate prescriptions that can be obtained from the Russian mafia and a handful of crooked doctors.
There are doctors in New Jersey who, with scant or no medical investigation, are willing to issue prescriptions for addictive painkillers to desperate patients. Medicare meets the cost of the drugs prescribed and, according to the report, the patients are able to keep their drugs or sell them on the black market where the profit made allows participants to purchase progressively stronger narcotics.
The report highlights the easy availability of heroin, now viewed as a cheap, pure drug ― the use of which no longer stigmatizes one as a “junkie.” The report also associates the drug with countless deaths, wrecked lives and spikes in the level of crimes and gang activity.
Extensive recommendations made to counter the drug epidemic
The SCI made 10 recommendations in its report, including:
- Imposing tougher sanctions for diverting prescription drugs and possession of heroin
- Establishing standards for doctors prescribing painkillers and improved oversight of ownership and management of medical practices
- Controlling the use of the tools involved in drug dealing such as pre-paid cell phones and hired cars
- Criminalizing vehicle traps that used to hide stashes of drugs and money.
Not all of these suggestions are likely to be implemented and, even if they are, they will take some time to take effect. The commissioning of the report and the report itself demonstrates the State’s commitment to fighting drug crime.
The law firm Hoffman DiMuzio has been helping those charged with drug-related crimes for many years across New Jersey. Contact us for a free initial consultation.
Publication approved by Joseph J. Hoffman, III, Esq., Associate of Hoffman DiMuzio