HACKENSACK, N.J. – An all-out effort to cut the number of overdose deaths from heroin and other opiates in Bergen County last year by supplying Narcan to police had a troubling result, authorities said.
87 OD victims died in Bergen in 2016, the same as the year before.
A total of 308 overdoses were reported last year – up nearly 7% from the 288 reported in 2015, according to a report released Thursday by Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal.
The majority involved heroin and other opioids, it says.
The number of deaths were the same as in 2015, however, “due in large part to the tireless efforts” of law enforcement officers throughout the county, Grewal said.
Police and sheriff's officers deployed Narcan -- the overdose reversal drug – to 207 overdose victims throughout Bergen last year, according to the prosecutor’s “Report on the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic in Bergen County.”
It saved 180 lives, the report says.
Narcan was used 194 times in 2015, it says.
In the end, Grewal said, society can't depend on law enforcement or the justice system to solve what essentially is a public health crisis.
"Education is the key," the prosecutor said. ."If we can steer children and adults from the known pathways to heroin and opioid addiction, we can stem this rising epidemic.”
VIEW THE REPORT FOR YOURSELF:
Grewal’s office is continuing to use social media to share current county overdose and Narcan Save data, while also mapping the epidemic in the county.
Grewal also asked citizens to share their own experiences and suggestions by using the hashtag #StopTheODs .
“The goal of this report, like our social media campaign, #StopTheODs, is to destigmatize the heroin and opioid epidemic by showing that it affects every pocket of the County,” he said.
“By doing so,” the prosecutor said, “we hope to encourage parents, children, educators and others to use this information to do their part to help prevent the next overdose."
Grewal thanked Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco, III, and Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino for their partnership and support of the BCPO’s fight.