I do not agree with the Governor on much, but I am happy to hear that he has decided to work on drug issues in his final year of office. In our state and in my ex-rural region of Sussex County opioid abuse continues to be a major issue, but it has become now more of a national issue. According to The New York Times, “Opioid addiction is America’s 50-state epidemic.”  Whether it is New England, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia or states like Florida and California the spread of opioids whether in Heroin or in the form of pills or powder is very dangerous.

Reports indicate that 33,000 people died of opioid addiction in 2015, which now almost equates deaths on our nation’s highways, and deaths from heroin surpassed the killing by guns in our nation. Some  years back, a leading Republican politician in my county of Sussex told me of the death of a mutual friend, who died in his 50s from a bad dose of heroin, using 1970s paraphernalia! Today, many in every county have younger- much younger-friends- dying of a more potent heroin and/or pills, and moms and dads are in tears.. In one large city, Paterson- it has been reported by The Record that Bergen County police are in that Passaic County City looking for their younger citizens hooked on opioids!

There is a real growing problem with synthetic opioids in powder or pill form  like fentanyl and other related fentanyl drugs that are 50 to 100  times more problematic than heroin, and have death rates soaring.  This is particularly true in states like Florida where they are able to find the essential overdoes capital of the state.  Treatment is indeed a solution, as always, but we need to solve the why of drug abuse in a hurry.  Governor, hit a home run on this legacy issue!

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Bill Weightman, former

NCADD-Advocate -24th District