New Jersey Authorities Cracking Down on Opioid Traffickers
As the opioid epidemic continues to rage across the nation, New Jersey authorities are carrying on a multi-track strategy to address the problem. The state attorney general and other law enforcement agencies are pursuing doctors, pharmacists and other professionals who help drive the crisis by issuing improper prescriptions or by otherwise engaging in the illegal distribution of these drugs.
The number of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. is skyrocketing as fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin, creeps into other drugs that are consumed by unknowing users. There were over 93,000 overdose deaths in 2020, a record high according to the CDC. The total reflected a 29 percent jump from 2019, which was the single largest increase in at least 30 years.
In 2019, the state attorney general created the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (NJ CARES) to coordinate criminal, civil and regulatory responses to opioid trafficking. The crackdown began with a focus on “mills,” where drugs are formulated and packaged for distribution on the street. This initial push led to the dismantling of heroin mills in Trenton, Paterson, Harrison and Irvington that were linked to more than 100 opioid deaths.
More recently, NJ-CARES has turned its attention to medical professionals who illegally prescribe these drugs and pharmacists who unlawfully distribute them. Prosecutions have been brought against doctors who issued off-label prescriptions for high dosages of Subsys, a fentanyl spray intended for use by cancer patients. In addition, pharmacists have been prosecuted for involvement in schemes to obtain and sell oxycodone. The defendants were accused of controlled dangerous substance offenses as well as theft and falsifying or tampering with records and other crimes.
The power and authority wielded by NJ CARES and state and federal prosecutors are substantial, and people accused of opioid-related crimes need strong defenses to combat charges of opioid trafficking, drug manufacturing or distribution, selling illegal prescriptions and related felonies. A skilled defense lawyer may be able to uncover mistakes in the way law enforcement handled the arrest or collected evidence and to spot any number of problems with the prosecutor’s case.
At the Law Offices of David Jay Glassman, we have decades of experience defending New Jersey residents against all types of drug charges, including those relating to opioids. Whether you are charged with a state or federal drug crime, we will closely examine the facts of your case to find potential defenses. To arrange to speak with an attorney, call 866-221-1270 or contact us online. We have offices in Marlton, New Brunswick, Hackensack and Newark.