Coronato, five others win Everyday Hero Awards from NJTV


, @KenSerranoAPP6:37 p.m. ET Jan. 18, 2017

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato has garnered an Everyday Hero Award from New Jersey Public Television along with others whose work and advocacy have touched on the heroin and opioid epidemic.

The awards were handed out Wednesday night in Trenton.

Coronato has led efforts to battle the heroin crisis through his office, including aggressively using strict-liability drug death charges against alleged dealers linked to overdose deaths and putting the overdose antidote naloxone into the hands of first responders. He recently created a diversion program for addicts under arrest and started a pilot program that allows addicts with or without insurance to seek treatment through Manchester and Brick police departments.

Paul Ressler, whose son Corey died of a heroin overdose in 2010, spurring the formation of The Overdose Prevention Agency Corporation in Hamilton, also received an Everyday Hero Award. Ressler’s organization trains people in the use of naloxone. Ressler also sits on the board of Daytop New Jersey, which treats adolescents and adults with mental health and substance abuse problems.

Angelo Valente, executive director of Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, which has led grassroots efforts to limit opioid prescriptions and educate the medical and dental community on the use of opioids, was among the recipients.

Everyday Hero Awards also went to Stephen Stirling, a reporter for NJ Advance Media who wrote the award-winning story Herointown, Patty DiRenzo, an advocate who has raised awareness of New Jersey's Overdose Prevention Act and who whose son Sal Marchese died of a heroin overdose in 2010 and Dr. Christopher Johnston, medical director of Endeavor House.