Cocaine 2015 – A legendary illegal drug continues to pose a threat
We've been hearing a lot lately about the heroin and prescription painkiller epidemic in New Jersey, but drug officials are warning of another drug that is also being frequently used, with deadly consequences.
"Cocaine remains the third biggest drug threat with regard to the illicit use of drugs in New Jersey, only behind heroin and prescription drugs," said Angelo Valente, the executive director of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey.
Valente said the majority of people being adversely impacted by cocaine live in urban areas.
"Recent data shows Camden County, which represents 5 percent of the state's population, had 17 percent of all cocaine deaths in 2012," said Valente. "More than 300 people died from cocaine use in 2012, so there's no question that we have to be diligent, not only with dealing with the issue of heroin and prescription drugs, but also with the issue of cocaine in New Jersey."
According to New Jersey DEA Special Agent Tim McMahon, the price of a gram of cocaine is roughly the same now as it's been in recent years, between $38 and $65.
"The price of cocaine fluctuates but we know it's at a level where it does provide access to people in all economics and parts of New Jersey," Valente said.
He said cocaine, like heroin, is being used by many different age groups.
"We're finding that people are abusing these drugs as young as in their teens, and certainly those that are in their 20s and 30s, and we're even seeing people abuse these drugs in their 40s and 50s," he said.
Valente stressed parents need to start talking to their kids about the pitfalls of illegal substances very early on.
"We need to continue to discuss with our children the dangers of heroin and prescription drugs, but also the other drugs that are creeping into our schools and communities," he said. "We need to be diligent to make sure our children understand how dangerous they really are."