Authorities with drug-sniffing dogs swept a New Jersey high school Wednesday, looking for heroin, cocaine and marijuana as overdose deaths have surged alarmingly in the area.
Prosecutors say the sweep at Lacey Township High School was part of an effort to thwart drug overdoses, which are on the rise in the suburban Jersey Shore county. So far this year, 104 people have died from overdoses, compared to 53 in 2012.
Most of those deaths are among young adults in their 20s, but Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said Wednesday's raid -- which forced a school lockdown -- was intended as a message to students and parents.
"Somebody doesn't wake up one day and say 'Hey, I want to do heroin,'" he said. "It really starts with pills, it starts with other drugs."
He blamed a majority of Ocean County's overdose deaths so far this year on heroin, or a combination of heroin and other drugs.
According to Coronato, heroin can be bought for as little as $3-5 a hit.
Coronato declined to discuss whether any drugs were found. He said K9s will be used to sweep most high schools in Ocean County before the end of the school year.