Opioid presentation for seniors

The nation’s growing opioid epidemic was described in detail today by Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and Chief Assistant Prosecutor Bradford Seabury before a group of senior citizens in Morris Township.

While the audience of about 40 may have differed from similar presentations of the prosecutor’s office, the setting aptly symbolized the extent of the problem. As Seabury explained, opioid addiction is not limited by geography, race or age.

Seabury, who heads the prosecutor’s office Special Enforcement Unit, noted that an estimated 91 individuals die daily in the United States to opioid addiction. Preliminary estimates from last year suggest that the number of those killed by opioid addiction in 2016 exceeded the 58,500 Americans killed during the Vietnam War.

“It (opioid addiction) has proliferated our society,” said Prosecutor Knapp. “It is killing people at an alarming rate.”

Morris County is not immune. Seabury said this year’s 49 opioid-related deaths exceeds the total for all of 2015. He called opioids the nation’s most abused drug after alcohol.

Seabury said one key to fighting opioid addiction is limiting the availability of prescription painkillers. A new state law that limits doctors to proscribing only a five-day supply of painkillers is a step in the right direction, Seabury said.

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office also concentrates on arresting those who sell drugs for profit while steering many drug users into treatment programs. State drug courts, which offer users a rigorous probation and treatment program, are integral to that effort, Seabury said.

Prosecutor Knapp and Seabury spoke at a luncheon sponsored by the Morris Township Municipal Alliance and the township Health Department. Also participating in the luncheon were the Morris Township Police Department and Township Administrator Tim Quinn, a retired police chief.

Man pleads guilty on gun charge

A Hasbrouck Heights man pleaded guilty Friday to unlawful possession of a weapon, a second degree crime, in a case brought by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp.

William Wetzler Jr., 59, entered the plea before Judge Thomas Critchley in state Superior Court, Morristown. Wetzler faces a three-year term in New Jersey State Prison with one year parole ineligibility when sentenced on Aug. 18. The judge previously had sided with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office in denying Wetzler’s request to enter the county’s Pretrial Intervention Program, which could have led to the charges being dismissed.

Wetzler admitted to bringing a loaded firearm, a Walther PPK/S .380-caliber handgun, to a coin show at the Parsippany PAL Building on May 1, 2016. Wetzler had the gun in his pocket and it accidentally discharged. A bullet ricocheted off the floor and struck another individual at the show who was not injured.

Wetzler acknowledged in court that he did not have a New Jersey permit to legally carry a weapon.

The state’s case is being handled by Assistant Prosecutor Alexis Keller.

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

Dover man sentenced to nine years in prison on drug charges

Charles C. Brown of Dover was sentenced to nine years in New Jersey State Prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine in a case brought by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp.

Brown, 41, was sentenced in state Superior Court, Morristown by Judge James M. DeMarzo. He must serve 50 months before being considered for parole. Additionally, the judge terminated Brown from the Morris County Drug Court program and re-sentenced him to a seven-year term of incarceration, 39 months of which must be served without parole. The sentences will run concurrently.

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Special Enforcement Unit/Narcotics Task Force completed an investigation of Brown’s involvement with distributing cocaine in and around Dover in July of 2016.
Brown was arrested on July 21 after court-authorized warrants were executed and detectives recovered cocaine and other drug paraphernalia from Brown’s residence. He was charged with multiple offenses related to the possession, manufacture and distribution of narcotics. Brown pleaded guilty on March 20.

Prosecutor Knapp wishes to thank the agencies in Morris County that contributed personnel to the Narcotics Task Force, as well as the Dover Police Department and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit.

Inquiries about this release should be directed to [email protected]