Pubdate: Tue, 11 Jul 2006
Source: Daily Record, The (Parsippany, NJ)
Copyright: 2006 The Daily Record
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Awareness Of Overdose Deaths Is Important

Stereotypes are very hard to put aside. One such stereotype is that 
hard drugs like heroin are common in such places as Newark and 
Camden, but not in affluent Morris County. That is a falsehood.

2006 is only a little more than half over and there have been 18 
drug-related deaths in Morris County. If that pace continues, it 
would easily surpass last year's total of 22. A most recent victim of 
heroin use was Holly Gillis, 21, of Hanover.

As friends gathered at the Gillis home, some said they were unaware 
heroin was that much of a problem in Morris County. Needless to say, 
even those familiar with the world of illicit drugs are going to be 
surprised when a family member or close friend is a victim.

But there really isn't any reason to be surprised that illicit drug 
use is a problem in the suburbs. It's been eight years sincethe Daily 
Record did a series profiling heroin deaths in Morris County. Many of 
the victims were young and not much different than Gillis.

If law enforcement had a magic solution to stop drug use, it would 
have been used years ago. There always will be drug abuse. The hope 
is that public awareness will alert family members and friends to the 
danger signs of addiction.

Law enforcement authorities can help expand public awareness by 
talking more openly about the problem. John Dangler, who was Morris 
County Prosecutor in the late 1990s, publicized each drug overdose 
death, simply because he wanted to make sure people knew there was a problem.

His successor, Michael M. Rubbinaccio, is less likely to do so. 
Awareness is not a cure. But we feel publicizing details of 
drug-related deaths as soon as possible is preferable to not doing 
so. That could help puncture the myth that drug overdoses are solely 
an urban problem.
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