Fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic

More than 33,000 Americans, about 91 a day, died from opioid overdoses in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Morris County is hardly immune from the growing epidemic as fatal opiate overdoses in the county rose from 43 in 2015 to 64 in 2016. This year, there have been at least 23 overdoses in less than four months, which is a pace that would exceed last year’s total.

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp is determined to raise awareness of the opioid and heroin epidemic and how to stop it by participating in ongoing public programs.

“By raising public consciousness of this heroin-opioid epidemic, it is our hope to stem the tide of addiction and related deaths,” Knapp said.

Held in conjunction with municipal police departments and local anti-drug groups, the symposiums are designed to highlight the devastating impact heroin and prescription opiates can have on families and communities.

The programs are presented by Knapp and Chief Assistant Prosecutor Bradford Seabury, head of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Special Operations Division. Assistant Prosecutor Seabury details the latest national and local statistics and delves into how illicit drugs are distributed and sold in the United States. He also describes how addiction can start and ways to combat it. The numbers are sobering. The United States has 4.6 percent of the world’s population, but consumes approximately 80 percent of the world’s opioids. The presentations are valuable for both students and their parents.

The proactive approach of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office coincides with state efforts to combat opioid addiction.

A law signed earlier this year by Gov. Chris Christie limits physicians to providing first time patients with only a five-day supply of opioid prescriptions. The limit is significant, because experts say addiction often begins when patients are proscribed far more opiates for pain than they need.

Upcoming programs and their local sponsors follow. All programs start at 7 p.m. and include a question and answer segment.

Tuesday, April 25:
Montville Township High School (local sponsors are township Police Department and township Drug Awareness Council)
Wednesday, April 26:
Roxbury Township High School (local sponsors are township Police Department, the Community Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris and Morris CARES).
Wednesday May 3
Dover High School (local sponsors are Dover Police, Dover High School, the Excel Treatment Center, The Milestone House of Recovery and Morris CARES)
Wednesday, May 10
Kinnelon High School (Local sponsors are borough Police Department, the Kinnelon Municipal Alliance and the high school.

For additional information, please contact Public Information Officer Fred Snowflack at [email protected] or (973) 829-8159.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is April 29

Prescription drugs are not always easy for people to dispose of, but the importance of properly cleaning out medicine cabinets can’t be overestimated.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day has been initiated by the Drug Enforcement Administration of the U.S. Justice Department to offer the public a convenient and safe way to dispose of unneeded drugs.

This year’s Take-Back Day takes place on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at three Morris County locations, Morris Plains, Morris Township, and Randolph. The event was jointly announced by Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Investigations John R. Speirs, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon, Morris Plains Borough Police Chief Jason A. Kohn, Morris Township Police Chief John McGuinness and Randolph Township Police Chief David Stokoe.

“This program has proven to be an effective method for the appropriate discarding of unused and unwanted medications, and I am hopeful this trend will continue,” Knapp said. “Curbing the abuse of medications not only benefits individuals, but benefits society as a whole.”

The initiative encourages individuals to anonymously and confidentially turn in expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications into secure drop boxes. The method is a safe, convenient and responsible way to dispose of drugs.

It’s also proven to be very popular. The DEA says nearly 900,000 pounds of unwanted medicines – about 447 tons – were turned in at last year’s Take-Back Day throughout the country. About 726 pounds of medicines were collected in Morris County and 18,000 pounds were collected in New Jersey. Once collected, the medication is safely incinerated by the DEA.

It’s encouraging that more Americans are understanding that removing old prescription drugs from their medicine cabinets, kitchen drawers and bedside tables reduces accidents, thefts and abuse. Take-Back events also raise awareness of the opioid epidemic and offer the public a safe and anonymous way to help lessen the risk of substance abuse.

Morris County locations for National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day are as follows:

Stop and Shop Supermarket
245 Littleton Road
Morris Plains

Morris Township Municipal Parking Lot (Next to Tiff’s Grill and Ale House)
191 Speedwell Ave.
Morris Township

ACME Supermarket
690 Millbrook Road
Randolph

Those unable to make this date can log on to http://safehealthymorris.org/dropbox/ for a list of permanent drop box locations nearest them.

Inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to Public Information Officer Fred Snowflack at (973) 829-8159 or at [email protected]

Two men arrested on armed robbery charges

Authorities have arrested two men in connection with a February armed robbery of a convenience store in Long Hill Township, according to Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and Long Hill Township Police Chief Michael Mazzeo.

The arrest of suspects, Frank E. Kline, 52, and David B. Domanski, 53, both of Washington Township, Warren County, was announced Tuesday by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office. The men are also suspected of an armed robbery that occurred March 26 at Krauszer’s Food Store on Stirling Road in Warren Township, Somerset County.

The robbery in Long Hill occurred at about 8:20 p.m. on Feb. 25 at the Country Farms convenience store on Division Avenue in the Millington section of the township. An investigation revealed that a white male entered the store, pointed a handgun towards the clerk, demanded money, and discharged one round in the direction of the clerk. The clerk turned over a sum of money and the suspect immediately fled on foot. There were no injuries reported.

During the course of the investigation, detectives from the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the Major Crime Unit, the Long Hill Police Department, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, and Warren Township Police Department worked together to identify Kline and Domanski as suspects in the armed robberies.

Both men were arrested and charged with one count of first degree Robbery and one count of Conspiracy. Kline also faces two additional counts for second degree Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Possession of a Weapon for Unlawful Purposes. Both defendants were lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing.
Despite these accusations, the defendants are presumed innocent unless, or until, proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit at (973) 285-6200 or the Long Hill Township Police Department at (908) 647-1800.

For additional information, contact Public Information Officer Fred Snowflack at [email protected] or (973) 829-8159