Cape May County has experienced a frightening uptick in the number of drug overdoses in February.

In the first 13 days of the month, there were 16 drug-related overdoses, two of which were fatal.

Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland issued what he called a "serious warning to the public regarding the recent upsurge of drug overdoses in the County."

In a release on Monday, the Prosecutor said police are seeing more overdoses and deaths related to heroin, counterfeit prescription pills, and the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

Cape May County officials say the fentanyl is being converted to a powder form and mixed at a dangerous and uncontrolled level with heroin or used in making counterfeit prescription pills.

An unregulated amount of fentanyl in your system could lead to serious complications and often death. Fentanyl has been a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses recently throughout the United States.

Because of the rash of overdoses, the Cape May County Forensic Laboratory is being utilized to analyze the drugs that are seized from these death investigations, which speeds up the time it takes to identify the illegal substances and can help identify the suspects involved in selling the drugs.

The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office is also sending the Hope One Mobile Access Unit out weekly into Cape May County to bring people struggling with opiate addiction issues to treatment and recovery facilities and to give them addiction and recovery services.

The Prosecutor urges families to educate their children about the dangers of such illegal drugs and to continue to report any information regarding illegal drug activity to the police.

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