Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Said Operation Was To Send A Message

NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) — The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office has taken dramatic steps at a New Jersey high school in an attempt to fight against a rise in teen drug abuse.

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As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported Wednesday, police and drug-sniffing dogs roamed the halls of Lacey Township High School in search of heroine, marijuana, methamphetamine and other illegal drugs possibly stashed away in lockers.

“The dogs are trained to sniff the openings of the lockers and if they get an odor of narcotics coming from lockers they give what we call a positive indication,” said Sgt. James Reilly, of the Toms River Police Department.

The operation, which was a surprise to students, was set in motion due to an alarming increase of overdose deaths in the county, Sloan reported.

So far there have been 104 overdose deaths in Ocean County this year, compared to 53 in all of last year.

Most of the overdoses have been from heroine and most of the victims were in their 20s, Sloan reported.

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Ocean Count Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said he’s targeting schools because prescription pills and marijuana are gateway drugs to heroine, which is cheaper.

“The problem with heroine is that it is so light and so pure that it becomes deadly,” Coronato said.

Many parents agree with Coronato. “I think the numbers are way too high and I have a teenager at the high school and couple more coming up and I absolutely like to see this,” parent Amy Labombard said.

The prosecutor’s office wouldn’t comment on if any illegal drugs were found at Lacey Township.  Warrants were prepared in case the dogs got a hit at the school, but officials said their main goal was to send a message to students to stay away from drugs.

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