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Amid Warnings, Heroin Getting More Potent in Ocean County

Increased potency, dangerous drug dealers make for lethal combination

Camden County officials this week warned of a potent batch of heroin that led to five overdoses within 24 hours. But Ocean County largely topped that earlier this year when nine people died over an eight day period in April.

Those five victims are among the 89 people – as of Thursday afternoon – to die in Ocean County this year from overdoses. Last year, the death toll was 53.

"To me, all heroin is poison," said Al Della Fave, a career law enforcement officer who is now spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutors Office. "Purity levels are at an all-time high."

The warning from Camden County has prompted a statewide discussion on heroin purity. While it is universally agreed-upon that injecting heroin puts one's life at risk, lethal dosages are becoming more common. Three New Jersey counties – Ocean, Monmouth and Cape May – have been identified by state officials as the most at-risk areas.

In the three-county area, deaths have spiked as the state has started education campaigns.

"The three counties involved in the first wave of our release have seen a particularly high spike in heroin over doses and deaths," said Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, speaking of one such campaign.

Lethal Doses Becoming More Common

Whether someone will take a fatal dose often depends on a few factors, Della Fave said, including how much of the drug a person takes, and whether it is mixed with other substances, such as alcohol or prescriptions drugs.

"Quality control," Della Fave said, is non-existent, as drug dealers use a wide variety of cutting agents to prepare their product for sale on the street. But despite most drug dealers branding their product in an attempt to guarantee its quality, the product can change within hours and users end up buying something different – and potentially even more deadly – than they may have expected.

In one case this year in which a suspected drug dealer from Atlantic City was charged and indicted in the death of a heroin user from Barnegat, investigators say they found the dealer switched products within hours.

Authorities say Rasan S. McGee, 22, of Atlantic City, sold heroin branded as "Boom" to Steven Janson, 26, of Barnegat, in April. Janson died. But within hours, police say McGee, also known as "Money," was selling a different heroin batch known as "Stingray."

"We see it all the time," said Della Fave. "That's how fast they go through this stuff, and how quickly it changes. From dosage to dosage, it can be different."

Users are also flirting with disaster more often than not, authorities have warned.

"We had a [drug distribution] case here in Ocean County where, after we made the arrest, we found Googled directions on how to cut it," said Della Fave. "I can't fathom putting your life in the hands of someone like that."

grace October 04, 2013 at 10:28 AM
what a messy shame!
Alphonse October 04, 2013 at 11:02 AM
. With Respect to the dedicated Men and Women in Law Enforcement, Fire and Rescue and Emergency Medical Personnel for their value of Life . . . . . . . . . Let these stark shrieking realities be spotlighted and broadcast by the wide range media, dare they have courage to see past the adulation of degenerate public figures and celebrities, public spectacle sensationalism or the thoughtless consumption of pop culture glorification. . As we witness the growing sociological despair if not destruction of tormented lives throughout our communities and towns by the spread of deadly addiction, insidious contagions, afflictions and associations linked only to crime within a vast network of narcotics distribution. . The so called 'Drug Hot Spots' are presently known, as are the centers of 'Political and Judicial fear' , not to mention certain drug maintenance programs which should be cost free, yet are merely a 'different kind of network' which in substituting one deadly drug for another may be considered sideshows of Legalized Pharmaceutical Fraud. . Hope lies only through determination of will, honest effective treatments and support from a capable society, and by all means necessary to stop the flow of deadly drugs. . This story however has no foreseeable end.
barbara October 04, 2013 at 11:10 AM
no end whatsoever, so frigging sad.......
Concerned October 04, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Maybe they should lock up the scum on Hill Top Rd.
george schlitz October 04, 2013 at 12:59 PM
People in their own neighborhoods know who is dealling they should call and report it,dont have to give the callers name if they are worried.More undercover police in schools acting as students making buys in the schools younger looking cops.that was good old fasion police work.dont see that anymore.teachers get invovled getting information from students quietly and observing more.Why more drugs many people dont give a shit and many parents are users themselves today.
Concerned October 04, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Here's the problem George, we've been reporting it. In fact, we report on a weekly basis, and still it continues.
BellaRox October 04, 2013 at 04:01 PM
THE WAR ON DRUGS WILL NEVER END IN THE UNITED STATES! SAD, BUT TRUE!
BellaRox October 04, 2013 at 04:03 PM
@CONCERNED. TELL THE POLICE THE EXACT HOUSE THAT THE PROBLEM IS AT.
BellaRox October 04, 2013 at 04:05 PM
@CONCERNED. JUST POST THE STREET ADDRESS.
mick s October 04, 2013 at 05:39 PM
Frank C: Your post can be mistaken for somebody having smoked something...
charlotte October 04, 2013 at 08:36 PM
This drug is making a mess of our community. This awful drug is affecting good kids in good families throughout this community. The first thing about facing the problem is publishing a police blotter. Sweeping it under the carpet just hides the dirt - it is still there - TR should look towards Berkeley & Lacey to see how communication can helpl.
BellaRox October 05, 2013 at 01:13 AM
@charlotte THIS IS NOT A NEW THING. IT HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR DECADES, AND WILL NEVER END!!!
Matt Fitz October 05, 2013 at 10:19 AM
Al Capone. ... took full advantage of the criminal opportunities available during Prohibition. Prohibition is an absolute plague The use of drugs is NOT the real problem, the system that grants exclusive distribution rights to violent cartels, terrorists, and corrupt politicians most definitely is the problem. Legalize it, regulate it, make it safer, and tax it. Do a search for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition LEAP
Rem October 05, 2013 at 09:22 PM
Somebody needs to grow a set in this town. The mayor needs to tell the pd the judges and etc that we don't want it here whack these guys and girls hard and get them outta here and send a big time message. How many times do i want to read that this guy got busted three times in one month. Get tough.
bob October 06, 2013 at 09:49 PM
What about the responsible users?
Concerned October 09, 2013 at 07:18 PM
How about we just start locking up the known drug dealers, Like the one on Hill Top Rd!!!!!
Mac October 09, 2013 at 08:20 PM
Let me share part of a story from I guy I knew who did four years for drug dealing. He was a little guy who started out dealing light stuff in the neighborhood. He was young and got caught up in the easy bucks. He ventured into heavier stuff, got a little too flashy, perhaps crowded someone else, got busted and deserved it, and served four years in prison. What he told me sent a chill down my spine. He was scared to death and will never do it again. He learned his lesson and they knew he would, that's why he served most of his time. The system was never going to make any money off of him again. The big drug dealers, given big sentences, are paroled after a year or two because they will go right back out there and do it all over again. Big bucks for the side we view as illegal and big bucks for the side we view as legal. Elect better representation, get better representation. Lower level public officials do as they are told by upper level public officials.
grace October 10, 2013 at 09:26 AM
you know what else mac what ever happened to the pounds of pot found in a storage locker plus other drug dealings that the owner of hemmingways was charged with..another cover up in toms river..my god when will it stop? thats why i am hoping no one votes for mastro as sherriff but i am afraid thats a done DEAL already. so very sad
Mac October 10, 2013 at 10:16 AM
Fires love to get higher and higher grace. Perhaps we should check under the boardwalk. :-)
grace October 10, 2013 at 11:35 AM
word is mac the bid accepted is 2x higher than another one, yet the 4million dollar one was the one they took. hmmm hate hate hate this stuff if true
Mac October 10, 2013 at 12:03 PM
they couldn't take the lower bids in the million dollar area grace - those bids were from qualified haulers - 2nd rate unqualified road construction hogs need to charge 4x as much - if they were 1st rate they wouldn't need a mercy bailout from our Governor's favorite AshBritt pocket pal to make a living
suz October 10, 2013 at 12:39 PM
The other companies that bid had drastically underestimated what the job entailed. It would of been another disaster. You get what you pay for....
Mac October 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM
yes you do, and in Ocean County there is no such thing as being able to bend over far enough or fast enough to get paid, right George? - suz, I'm going to suggest to our Freeholders that they finance a statue of you for all voters to be able to worship - we will fondly refer to it as 'Our Blind Loyalty to the End' tribute in spite of our daily evidence reminders - instead of just continuing to vote for the next 100 years suz, you will be afforded the voting hero's reward of doubling your pleasure :-)
grace October 10, 2013 at 01:54 PM
lets hope suz
suz October 10, 2013 at 02:25 PM
You make me laugh out loud, Mac...
proud October 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM
Build contiguous dunes-- NOT Funtown Pier.
grace October 18, 2013 at 12:43 PM
maruca i said that before about the bid. a 4million dollar one was taken when another was much less
proud October 18, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Somehow I missed this string last week. I am also in favor of a statue of @suz, but for different reasons.
Mac October 18, 2013 at 05:49 PM
@Maruca - jealous?? - thanks for my best laugh of the week so far - it has even put me in the mood for some thick center-cut pork chops tonight - stuffed, of course - I think the true threat is that Funny Pier might be rebuilt period - a fresh coat of paint on Staten Island South - I guess it does kind of fit in with the community though doesn't it - if all the pier owner is getting is a lousy $4.7M to haul away the evidence then he/she/it/whatever doesn't possess enough vision to rebuild anything that's not the drug haven slum of punks it's renowned history has been for the past 40 years - and with the political leadership of Ocean County, it's certainly not going to attract any business class here, just more Christie class - however, after seeing Wednesday's 2-1 Ocean County election results, if I were the contractor, I'd say you misread the fine print - the price is actually $4.7M per day of the cleanup, not the entire job - and the Ocean County taxpayer will bitch, but they'll pay it - they simply don't have the ability not to pay it, again and again - its soooooooooooooooooo easy in nj and even easierrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr in Ocean County
charlotte October 18, 2013 at 10:37 PM
I also heard that voting machines can be programmed to corrupt voting results. I don't have much hope that our inept form of government are capable of that but surely they have enough of our tax money to hire someone - surely they are not above this morally. I know too many quality individuals to believe that we could be a county of extremely ignorant, bigoted individuals. I guess the other explanation is that this was the LOWEST recorded VOTER turnout in NJ HISTORY. Chris Christie is NOT getting my vote for dog catcher.

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