According to Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony Kearns III, a community doesn't need a main street to have a drug problem, nor does it need an urban center to have gang activity.
Kearns was at the in Mendham last Tuesday to testify for the Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use Amongst New Jersey's Youth and Young Adults.
In a prepared statement, Kearns described the geography of rural Hunterdon county.
"We are one hour from New York City, one hour from Philadelphia and 15 minutes from Trenton," Kearns said. "Route 78 runs right through Hunterdon County."
This, according to Kearns, provides easy access to drugs that Kearns says are being sold by gangs out their cars. Despite making public arrests, the perception of the situation doesn't match the reality.
"People say we don't have a problem like this in Hunterdon County," Kearns said. "And we do. You don't need an urban area to have gang activity. Drugs are being sold in our neighborhoods."
Kearns believes the advent of modern technology has made the problem worse.
"You don't need to go into an alley or travel into a city to purchase drugs," Kearns said. "You can send a text message and have them delivered to your door."
Kearns implored the group that the problem needs to be addressed aggressively, and appealed to the panel to support law enforcement in doing so.
"The only was to address something like this is to address it," Kearns said. "And do so aggressively."
Editor's note: This is the fourth of a five-part series about a hearing held at Daytop Prep School in Mendham by the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Task Force on Heroin and Other Opiate Use Amongst New Jersey's Youth and Young Adults.