Heroin overdoses in Camden affected 29 people in only two days this past week. Local authorities report that all cases were not fatal. The significant number of overdoses is linked to heroin that was distributed for free as samples with the Batman logo was on them.
The Narcotic Analysis Unit of the New Jersey State Police Regional Operations and Intelligence Center issued an alert to warned people in Camden that the drug being sold or given away labeled with a Batman stamp is highly dangerous. Cooper University Health Care responded to 23 heroin overdoses between Tuesday and Thursday, and Camden Police Department responded to the other six cases on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to authorities.
New Jersey police think the drug has already spread because there are reports of heroin users that went to Camden to purchase the new product.
The alert says the drug is so potent that emergency medical service personnel is using extra Narcan to manage the symptoms to save users. Heroin is an opioid and Narcan is a branded prescription that reverses the effects of this type of drug.
Batman heroin is possibly related to another Camden drug event, also related to numerous overdoses. The narcotic Analysis Unit said that a similar case was linked to a drug distributed as “Don’t Panic.” The drug was also based on heroin but contained high doses of fentanyl, a drug 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin.
Heroin in Camden: a consequence of New Jersey’s increase of painkiller consumption
Both the Batman labeled heroin and “Don’t Panic” are now part of a drug crisis that is affecting New Jersey. There has been a drastic increase of painkiller consumption over the past decade that has led to a heroin epidemic.
The Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use by New Jersey’s Youth and Young Adults reported heroin and opiate abuse as the number one health crisis in the state.
Between 2010 and 2013, New Jersey has had 4,300 drug-related deaths and in five years the state has witnessed an increase in the number of admissions to licensed or certified treatment programs for prescription drug abuse. The statistics show that that number of substance abuse cases rose more than 200 percent in five years, and in the last decade to more than 700 percent.
Vice magazine reports that people start their addiction with the over-prescription of painkillers. Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni attributes the origin of the heroin epidemic to painkillers because people are vulnerable to get addicted to them. And once they do not have a prescription, they seek heroin as a substitute.
New Jersey is not the only state that is being hunted by heroin with peculiar names to attract users. In August 2016, Vermont and New Hampshire registered at least 12 overdoses during a weekend due to a heroin called “Game of Thrones.” The Vermont Health Department stated that in was 50 times deadlier than ordinary heroin.