A "heroin epidemic" in Ocean County is prompting the county Prosecutor's Office to talk to parents at schools across the county.
"We need to raise awareness about this growing problem," said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor's office. "Prosecutor Joseph Coronato has indicated he will not tolerate drugs or violence in our schools."
In Barnegat, prosecutor's office representatives will speak to parents at general assemblies at Barnegat High School at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16 and at Brackman Middle School at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 18.
Officials will speak to parents, through public address systems, at Southern Regional High School at 7 p.m. Sept. 26 and at Southern Regional Middle School at 7 p.m. Sept. 19.
Officials will speak at MATES in Manahawkin at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 12.
A video designed specifically for parents of middle and high school students will also be shown, Della Fave said.
Many of the speaking engagements throughout the county will be at Back to School Nights and other parent gatherings at local schools.
The officials will explain to parents that their staff will work with local police departments to track down and prosecute drug activity more aggressively. The stepped-up enforcement will include using K-9 police dogs to sniff out drugs on and near school grounds throughout the county, Della Fave said.
In a video on the prosecutor's website, Della Fave explains the extent of the drug problem and how the office needs community assistance and support.
There have been 87 heroin overdose deaths this year, compared to 53 in the entire year of 2012 in the county, according to updated information the prosecutor's office released late Friday afternoon.
For more information, contact Agent Michael Colwell of the county prosecutor's office at (732) 929-2027 or visit the prosecutor's website.