Heroin pill circulating in New Jersey
"Specifically in the Cherry Hill and Burlington County area, we have had approximately four different occurrences of heroin pills coming up during arrests or overdoses," said State Police Lt. Juan Colon.
The pills, which are a speckled bluish-green with an "M" stamped on the front, can be swallowed, snorted, or injected intravenously. The tablets are slightly larger than most pharmaceutical painkillers but deliver a much stronger dose than their prescribed counterparts.
"Basically, you're giving a person who may be thinking they're acquiring a prescription pill, but they're actually getting heroin," Colon said, "so they're going right to the most addictive form."
For drug dealers, a pill version of heroin is good business, allowing them to sell the drug to customers who are, knowingly or unknowingly, seeking illegal prescription painkillers.
"Now, because you have someone addicted to heroin, you're going to get someone who's buying it more frequently than if they were just hooked on prescription pills," Colon said.
One of the other concerns with a heroin pill is that dosage is not consistent, and could be deadly to anyone trying it for the first time.
"People are thinking they're going to get a painkiller of a known strength, and here they are getting heroin of a completely unknown strength," said Capt. Stephen Jones, public information officer with the State Police.
Law enforcement isn't sure if the pills are being manufactured in the United States, but Colon said they have heard of Mexican drug cartels buying pill press machines from China. However, they have no evidence there is a connection between that and the heroin pill popping up in New Jersey.