Man Charged in Army Vet's Overdose Death

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Officials say 40-year-old Kenneth Novak of Manchester Township sold Army veteran Matthew Georgi a pain reliever known as Opana. Georgi's mother responds. (Published Wednesday, Nov 13, 2013)

    Authorities in Ocean County have charged a man in the deadly drug overdose of another.

    Officials say 40-year-old Kenneth Novak of Manchester Township sold Army veteran Matthew Georgi a pain reliever known as Opana.

    "No one forced that pill down my son's throat, but someone made it available to him, someone created a pathway...and if we can put one dealer in prison, we can make one less pathway available," said Pat Georgi.

    Her son, who was a Stafford Township resident was pronounced dead in his home on Sept. 22, which was his 32nd birthday.

    An autopsy determined Georgi died as the result of an adverse reaction to the prescription medication.

    Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato says he is being very aggressive in prosecuting overdose death because he views the problem as an epidemic. Coronato said there have been 96 overdose deaths in the county this year compared to 53 in 2012.

    Novak is charged with manslaughter, drug induced death and other drug charges. He's held on $250,000 bail and it's not clear whether he has a lawyer.

    He is the third person charged this year in the county under the state's strict drug overdose liability law. In the past, prosecutors have been reluctant to pursue people under the law, according to Coronato, because the burden of proof has been daunting. Coronato said his team decided to approach that problem by doing something new. Instead of treating a drug overdose as a medical call, law enforcement now notifies Coronato's office. He sends out a team of investigators to go through the victim's home and collect evidence immediately that can help lead them to where the drugs originated.

     


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