Drugs are a war in the United States that we have been fighting for multiple years. People are selling drugs, consumers buying drugs and misusing them, and adults and children are becoming addicted to drugs. All of these situations have hit each state separately. In the case of New Jersey, there has been an epidemic of opioid and cocaine addiction. 

Cocaine and opioids are dangerous drugs. The main difference between the two is that one is legal, and the other is not. Even though opioids are legal, they can quickly be abused. Opiods are used by adults, teenagers, and younger children and it this drug can have disastrous results if not used properly. The HSS advised that from the ages of 12-17, at least 3% were misusing pain relievers in some form or fashion. Another 2% of New Jersey youths advised that the needed treatment for their illicit substance abuse but were not able to get it. 

Teens and adults with addiction problems are the ones who are genuinely at risk when drug rings form and create a market for drugs. The get customers who usually would not be able to access drugs such as cocaine and make it easy to get. This can happen in any part of the country, but in New Jersey, the rate is slightly above the US percentage. 

The area of Passiac in the northern part of Jersey is one of the high-risk regions until recently. Now some of the citizens of this county can breathe a little bit easier as a drug ring was broken up on January 28th, 2020. Three participants in the drug ring came forward and admitted to distributing and selling cocaine in the area. Over $700,000 were found in these people’s homes, along with drug paraphernalia and cocaine. The police have been watching these three like a hawk since 2017. Today they were able to serve some justice to the three criminals. The men were:

Narcisco Ramirez

  • Age: 46
  • From Passaic

Kiuny Perez

  • Age: 42
  • From the Rockaway Township

Victor Pimentel

  • Age: 44
  • From Parsippany

These three men are facing charges of 10 years of imprisonment to maximum life sentences. They will be brought to court on the charges of large scale selling and distributing cocaine in June and July. 

However, just because this drug ring was caught does not mean the New Jersey drug epidemic has disappeared. If anything, it has had to make people more resourceful as they try to find new sources and leads on where to get their drugs. In 2017, 2, 685 people died from a drug overdose in New Jersey alone. In the whole United States, over 70,237 people died due to overdosing on drugs. While these men were caught and removing them will help a small part of the problem, there is still a larger conversation to be had. 

The people who supported these men were everyday people who have a severe problem with cocaine. This addiction probably did not start that way. Many cocaine addictions stem from opioid abuse. In New Jersey, doctors wrote 44.2 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons in 2017. The population of New Jersey was around 8.89 million people. This means that New Jersey doctors wrote up at least 88,900 prescriptions for opioids in 2017. All of those people had the potential to become addicted to opioids. 

The slippery slope of opioid prescriptions into full-on addictions has been a frequent struggle for New Jersey natives. Opioid addiction is one of the top drug problems that people experience in New Jersey. 

The drug ring in Passiac County takes advantage of that by finding people in the area and exploiting their weaknesses. These men were local and would have known the history and personalities of the people living in their area. This is what would have given them a leg up when reaching out to new clients. People with ill intentions reach out to children and teens who are vulnerable. They entice them with drugs and get them hooked on early, so they have customers who are dependent on them. 

But how do we break this chain? It’s not easy to find participants in a drug ring and bring them to court. If we could do that every time that would be fantastic, but since that is not an everyday option, the next best thing is to educate. 

Educating the youth and teens of tomorrow helps them learn who to trust, what not to do, and what drugs can do to you. These are valuable lessons that they should learn ahead of time. Some tips taught in school by the D.A.R.E program prove to be useful. However for some children and teens need need more involvement to truly understand the repercussions of taking drugs. It never hurts to overeducate, and this means bringing the parents into the conversation. 

Bringing the parents up to speed on topics and issues around drugs allows them to be more aware of what’s happening in their child’s life and their life. Adults are not immune to drug addictions, and informing the parents shows them also how to avoid addiction and take extra precautions when given pain medication like opioids or other pain medication. 

If we can educate the people in New Jersey and the United States to see how harmful drugs can be, then it makes it harder for drug rings to turn a profit. If there are more people who know not to buy drugs, then there are fewer people to buy from the drug rings. It is a cause and effect. 

However, for some people, it may already be a little late. Addiction can happen quickly, and sometimes it is subtle, but if you or someone you know is having trouble with opioid or cocaine addiction, then the best step is to seek help. There are recovery centers all around the United States. In New Jersey, Pineland Recovery Center offers in house and outpatient treatment for opioid and cocaine addiction. They also treat a variety of other addictions, and they have a great staff that helps you with your recovery journey. It is never to late to seek help and create a better life for yourself.