Written by Bill Barlow Wednesday, April 09, 2014 12:34 pm
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Officials are blaming heroin for the deaths of two men a few days apart.
One was 29, the other 30.
In announcing the deaths, the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office withheld the names of the victims.
According to Prosecutor Robert Taylor, these were the second and third fatal overdose in the county this year, and the overall number is up for the year so far, at 28 reported overdoses. The investigation is still under way, Taylor said, so officials do not yet know if the men bought the heroin from the same source or if there is anything extraordinary about the drugs they used.
Officials want more information.
“We always try to track down the person who sold the heroin,” Taylor said Wednesday.
Officials and addiction experts have described a heroin epidemic in the county in recent years, saying the drugs are readily available, cheap, at least compared to prescription opiates, and stronger than ever at the street level.
The consequences can be fatal.
On Friday, police responded to the Del Haven section of Middle Township for a report of a sudden death.
Middle police and officers from the prosecutor’s office found a 29-year-old man with a hypodermic needle and a small baggie such as used to package heroin near the body, according to the prosecutor’s office.
An autopsy was conducted on Monday, April 7 by the Southern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, which classified the death as accidental. The cause of death has been certified as adverse effects of drugs.
On Monday, the Lower Township Police Department responded to North Cape May for another sudden death report.
This time, it was a 30-year-old. Again, officers found a needle and an empty bag nearby, and a search turned up 20 more bags of heroin, according to police.
The autopsy again blamed drugs for an accidental death.
Middle Township Police Chief Chris Leusner and Lower Township Police Chief William Mastriana joined Taylor in the county statement announcing the deaths.
“The investigations into these drug related crimes are on-going and any information concerning these deaths from the public is greatly appreciated. The prosecutor’s office along with local municipalities throughout the county are aggressively investigating the large influx of drug related overdoses, specifically heroin within Cape May County,” reads the statement from police.
Officials ask that those with any information regarding these investigations or any drug activity throughout the county call the prosecutor’s office at 609-465-1135 or their respective police department.