Staffers at two New Jersey Veterans Administration Hospitals were arrested and charged with dealing heroin and cocaine to patients seeking addiction treatment.
Three staffers and four drug dealers working from outside the hospitals were arrested on Tuesday, according to NBC 4. Investigators uncovered the alleged plot at veterans' hospitals in Lyons and East Orange.
All seven suspects are accused of supplying heroin and cocaine to veterans, some of whom were getting methadone treatment for heroin addictions. Their names weren't released, but prosecutors are expected to detail the charges in the near future.
The charges are reminiscent of a case in Brooklyn, N.Y. in the mid 1990s in which 12 hospital employees were caught dealing heroin and crack cocaine to 17 patients who were veterans. The New York Times reported at the time that on top of those narcotics, staffers sold large amounts of methadone to those being treated in the hospital's drug addiction program.
On the same day, in nearby Putnam County, N.Y., 56 people were arrested as part of a narcotics sting that included the recovery of large amounts of heroin, cocaine and MDMA. The investigation began after four young men died at Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel from heroin overdoses, according to the Journal News.
The paper reported a growing problem of heroin addiction among suburbanites in their early 20s. Young adults are reportedly moving to heroin because it's cheaper than prescription pills.