Medical Professionals Gather to Develop Solutions to Opioid Abuse Epidemic at Do No Harm Symposium


Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher Jakim, of the Drug Enforcement Administration – New Jersey Division, discusses the scope of the opioid crisis from a law enforcement perspective at a Do No Harm Symposium held Tuesday, Sept. 12, at Hackettstown Regional Medical Center. 

HACKETTSTOWN — Dozens of medical professionals gathered at Hackettstown Regional Medical Center on Tuesday to learn what role they can play in stemming the current opioid crisis at the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s (PDFNJ) Do No Harm Symposium.

“We are here today to talk about safer prescribing and the scope of the opioid abuse epidemic,” said Angelo M. Valente, executive director of PDFNJ. “We are not here to assign blame but instead to develop solutions. These symposiums are one step.” 

The seminar was co-sponsored by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, the Drug Enforcement Administration – New Jersey Division, Atlantic Health System, the Coalition for Healthy & Safe Communities and the Family Guidance Center of Warren County.

“We are very proud to have been partnering with The Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) on the Do No Harm series since it began in October 2013,” said Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division. “It has been vitally important to include the medical community in our battle against heroin and prescription opioid abuse.” 

The seminar perspectives from law enforcement, legal and medical professionals and included discussion on national and local abuse trends, including safer prescribing, the importance of informing patients of the potential for dependency of the medicine they prescribe and other legal and medical solutions.

“It’s extremely important that we all educate ourselves on this issue,” said Liz Sartori, director of the Counseling and Addiction Center at Hackettstown Regional Medical Center. “This opioid epidemic has really taken hold over the past 10-and-a-half years. We all need to see what we can do to improve how we practice.”

Speakers included Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher Jakim from the Drug Enforcement Administration – New Jersey Division; Dr. Maulik M. Trivedi, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Hackettstown Medical Center; Dr. Sindy Paul, Medical Education Director of the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners; and John E. Morrone, a partner with Frier & Levitt.

“Solving the opioid epidemic problems we face here in Warren County has not been easy,” said Mary Jo Harris, Community Coalition Coordinator with the Coalition for Healthy & Safe Communities – Warren County. “My hope is that through the Do No Harm Symposium we can encourage an open dialogue with the medical community to be mindful of the CDC opioid prescribing guidelines and be comfortable with screening patients for opioid use disorder and be familiar with connecting them with treatment.”


Best known for its statewide anti-drug advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication. To date, more than $70 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership’s New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey’s history. Since its inception the Partnership has garnered 166 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.