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NJ Panel Issues Recommendations To Combat ‘Skyrocketing’ Heroin Use

A heroin needle (credit: ClipArt.com)

A heroin needle (credit: ClipArt.com)

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A state panel is offering recommendations on how to combat New Jersey’s burgeoning heroin and prescription drug abuse problem.

The Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse says the use of heroin and prescription opiates in New Jersey is “skyrocketing.” Its report released Tuesday says admissions to licensed or certified substance abuse programs due to prescription drug abuse have increased seven-fold over the last decade.

Addiction to prescription drugs often leads to heroin addiction.

The report makes numerous recommendations, such as expanding resources for people to get treatment and making it easier to build treatment centers where they’re needed.

The report also recommends expanding mental health and substance abuse programs in county jails, and reviewing insurance practices to make it easier to get mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Connecticut lawmakers also outlined steps Tuesday to combat the growing number of fatalities from heroin in the state and nationwide, including increased funding for treatment, increased support for law enforcement crackdown on trafficking and increased availability of a heroin overdose prevention drug.

In a video message posted online last week, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the increase in heroin-related deaths nationwide an “urgent and growing public health crisis.”

“Addiction to heroin and other opiates, including certain prescription painkillers, is impacting the lives of Americans in every state, in every region, and from every background and walk of life — and all too often, with deadly results,” Holder said.

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