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Targeting Doctors Who Over-Prescribe [AUDIO]

We may soon see the mug shots of more doctors and pharmacists, as Ocean County law enforcement continues its battle against drug overdose deaths.

Heroin
Flickr User dkalo

Prosecutor Joseph Coronato is looking to address the heroin addiction epidemic at its inception: the abuse of prescription pain killers.

“Certainly, I’m going to be directing my office to hunt down doctors and pharmacists and any professionals who abuse the process,” Coronato said.

Coronato believes addiction to prescription opiate pain killers is fueling the heroin addiction and overdose death epidemic throughout the country, because he said doctors have been over-prescribing these drugs for years.

He also said the governor of Vermont recently dedicated his entire State of the State speech to the heroin addiction crisis.

Coronato has often referred to Ocean County’s multi-pronged effort to battle drug abuse as the “fight for our survival,” because the county ended 2013 with a total of 112 drug overdose deaths and has had four such deaths so far this month.

One of the most controversial fronts is the random K-9 drug searches of school facilities.

Joseph Coronato
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato (Prosecutor’s Office)

“We’re trying to send a signal at that point that no drugs are going to be tolerated in schools, and we’re getting better and more efficient in bringing the dogs through the schools,” Coronato said.

His theory is that if you can curb the problem of pills in the high schools, then you have a shot at curbing the heroin problem that evolves from an addiction to opiate prescription pain medications.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is also planning to roll out a series of locally produced anti-drug videos this year. Coronato said local high school students and police officers act in the hard-hitting videos, which are aimed at showing the results of choices that students and parents make in addressing the drug issue.

Coronato said that they’ll be holding bigger and better drug forums this year, and will be expanding the Drug Court intervention program by addressing mental health issues with a new pilot initiative.

For Rosetta Key’s on-air story, click here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen to the latest “Townsquare Tonight” to hear the prosecutor’s entire interview with Townsquare Media:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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