After holding for three years, overdose drug deaths are now on the rise in New Jersey.

According to New Jersey Law and Public Safety data, for the first six months of this year there have been 1,626 suspected drug related overdose deaths in New Jersey.

Last year there were 3,046 overdose deaths. In 2019 the number was 2,914 and in 2018 there were 3,006 drug related overdose deaths in the Garden State.

In response to this trend, the Department of Human Services, in cooperation with the state Attorney General’s Office, is expanding efforts to make the opioid overdose antidote drug naloxone more accessible.

Acting DHS commissioner Sarah Adelman said more than 24,000 additional doses of naloxone have been distributed to 271 law enforcement agencies.

“We continue to work hard to prevent overdoses. Quite simply naloxone saves lives, so this initiative is building on our efforts to get this life saving antidote into as many hands as possible,” she said.

Adelman noted her Department has previously distributed 70,000 free doses to police, EMS, homeless shelters and libraries.

DHS has also given 64,000 free doses of naloxone to New Jersey residents at pharmacies, in what were billed as naloxone give-away days.

People struggling with addiction are encouraged to call the addiction treatment helpline, at 1-844-ReachNJ.

She pointed out the helpline is operating 24/7 to offer immediate assistance and support.

“The goal is to save lives and connect individuals to ongoing recovery support,” she said.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

Beautiful sunflower fields to visit in NJ 2021

Among reasons why the “Garden State” remains a fitting nickname for New Jersey — late summer means the arrival of sunflower season.

There are at least six fields, spanning the state. Some are in bloom as of early August, while others are planned to peak from late August to late September.

Calling or emailing before heading out is always advisable if weather appears to be an issue. 

Point Pleasant Beach NJ: 11 most popular spots

The oceanside location of Point Pleasant Beach has been a source of enjoyment for centuries.

The first permanent boardwalk was built in 1915 and in the late 1920’s, Orlo Jenkinson built Jenkinson’s Pavilion and Swimming Pool. 

Over the past 100 years or so, the community has grown into a vibrant resort destination for state residents and tourists, alike.

LOOK: 20 Fascinating Photos From the First Modern Olympic Games in 1896

To celebrate the history of international sports cooperation, Stacker took a look back at that groundbreaking event in Athens, when the modern Olympics were born in 1896. Keep reading to learn more about the athletes, spectators, and sports at that iconic event.