Princeton Police have arrested five people for heroin possession this year, and have made one arrest for heroin distribution. Officers have also encountered five people in Princeton who overdosed, and one other person in Princeton died as the result of a heroin overdose this year.
“Nationwide, statewide, and unfortunately locally we are starting to experience a spike in the number of overdose instances,” Princeton Police Chief Nick Sutter said. “Other parts of country have been dealing with this for a very long time.”
Under New Jersey law, individuals who overdose are not charged for heroin possession. The “Good Samaritan” legislation encourages people to call 911 to seek medical assistance for themselves or someone experiencing an overdose by providing criminal immunity for both the people in need and the people who sought help.
Every patrol car in the Princeton Police Department now carries a Narcan kit to aid overdose victims. Princeton officers have used Narcan twice in 2015.
“It’s not just a law enforcement issue, it’s a public health issue,” Sutter said. “Nobody, regardless of where we live, our backgrounds — none of us are immune from the epidemic. Many of us, as I talk to people in the community, are related to someone or know someone who has been touched by addiction. It is an epidemic that is killing our youths and putting them in harm’s way. We need to work collectively to address this and wipe it out. “