Legislation sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Senator Kristin Corrado that would establish a program to detect potentially deadly fentanyl in the illegal drug supply was approved by the Senate and now awaits the governor’s consideration.
Sen. Tom Kean’s measure requires the attorney general’s office to test all controlled dangerous substances seized by police for the presence of fentanyl. (©iStock)
The bill (A5445/S3909) would require the attorney general to test all controlled dangerous substances seized by police for the presence of fentanyl.
“The severity of the state’s heart-breaking drug epidemic demands action,” said Kean (R-24). “This program will save lives by providing first responders with insight into where fentanyl is most rampant and which neighborhoods and towns face the greatest threat. The testing could help police track the sources of the deadly drugs and get them off the streets.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid up to 25 times more potent and dangerous than heroin. Deaths related to Fentanyl in New Jersey have increased dramatically in recent years, and fatal overdoses involving synthetic opioids have exploded from 38 in 2012 to 1,376 in 2017, when there were almost 2,000 overdose deaths in the state.
“People are dying on the streets because they are not aware fentanyl is in the drugs they are abusing,” said Corrado (R-40). “Fentanyl is a killer. Fatal opioid overdoses in the State are 50 percent higher than the national average, and the prevalence of fentanyl is largely responsible. The data we learn from this program will help save lives.”
The information received from testing will be compiled and continually updated in a database accessible to law enforcement agencies across the state.
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