The Drug Enforcement Administration is reaching out to state, county and local law enforcement officials in New Jersey with a chilling new warning and a request for assistance.

According to Susan Gibson, special agent in charge of the DEA in New Jersey, drug traffickers have started spiking pills, marijuana and cocaine with fentanyl. When overdose deaths take place, the DEA wants specific details about the makeup of the product that was involved in the death.

Charge them with murder

She said this information is important because “we want to start responding to these overdose deaths not as accidental, but treat them as homicide investigations, and in order to be able to do that we have to work with our local counterparts and we have to identify the product that’s being utilized.”

“We want to charge people that are knowingly distributing fentanyl with homicide, we want to charge them with death resulting of their actions and distributing a product that’s killing people," she said.

Dealers are using fentanyl to boost the highs people will get from whatever drug they are using, including phony Percocet and Oxycontin pills, even though very small amounts of fentanyl can be and frequently are deadly.

Only a pinch will kill you

As little as 2 milligrams of fentanyl can kill a user, who have no idea how much might be in a pill or drug.

Gibson said drug dealers have only one thing in mind.

“They want it to be the strongest product they can put out there. I know it sounds crazy because this product can kill you, but a lot of people who are addicted, they don’t think like that," she said.

Heroin users
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“Whatever illicit drug you’re buying right now, you have to be prepared that there’s fentanyl in it — period,” she said.

She noted there has recently been a spike in fentanyl-related mass-overdose events around the nation, and there are fears this could soon begin to happen in the Garden State.

The DEA defines a mass-overdose event as more than three people dying at the same time in the same location from drugs.

She noted 96% of heroin recently seized in New Jersey is laced with fentanyl.

“We are dedicated to getting as much information out as we can to people, so they can get educated and they can make better choices, we have over 3,000 people dying a year in this state from overdoses,” she said.

For more information on the threat of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids, you can visit DEA.gov.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

NJ Diners that are open 24/7