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TRHS North Goes To the Dogs – Actually, Vice-Versa

Who let the dogs out?

K-9 Unit at Toms River High School North (Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)
K-9 Unit at Toms River High School North (Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office)

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato did, this morning, at Toms River High School North – the newest in an ongoing series of unannounced searches aimed at exposing illicit drug use and highlighting the risks that dealers of any age are running.

According to Interim Superintendent Thomas Gialanella, upwards of 20 squad cars converged on the campus, uniformed officers fanning out through halls and checking lockers.

One of the keys to the searches is that investigators return at unexpected times, reinforcing the idea that it isn’t one-and-done.

Gialanella points out that the Toms River Regional District was the first to respond to the program, and they’ll stick with it. “Toms River High School East was searched,” he said. “We have requested that we continue working with the Prosecutor’s Office on these searches. It’s important to keep drugs out of our schools.”

What about parental pushback? Is anyone raising privacy issues? “I think you hear that a little,” Gialanella conceded, “but I think the vast majority of parents appreciate what we’re doing…and that we’re serious. The Prosecutor obviously has made a big push since he took office, and we’re cooperating with that push.”

As with the rest of the searches, neither the district nor investigators are disclosing findings except to school administrators and parents.

Coronato’s multi-tiered offensive is programmed to drive down the county’s overdose fatality rate, which skyrocketed in 2013 to 112, more than double all of 2012.

He also employs components of education and prevention, the first in New Jersey to distribute Narcan to local police with instructions on how to use it. The substance that’s capable of staving off overdose deaths is now part of the Monmouth County approach as well.

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