NJ.com: Opioid epidemic town hall set for Wednesday in Parsippany


Justin Zaremba | NJ Advance Media for NJ.comBy Justin Zaremba | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com 
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on May 13, 2017 at 8:00 AM, updated May 13, 2017 at 8:09 AM

PARSIPPANY -- A town hall meeting focused on the opioid epidemic will take place Wednesday at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy.

Morris County residents will be able to join an informal conversation on the national epidemic with the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, law enforcement and recovery services as part of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey's Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall series, Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp said in a news release.

The event take place at the training academy at 500 West Hanover Avenue on May 17 and will run from 6 to 8 p.m. Doors will open at 5 p.m.

The town hall series focuses on prescription drug dependency and heroin abuse and includes collaboration from local and county law enforcement, government and medical community leaders.

The program coincides with the prosecutor's office's new program launching on Thursday aimed at steering drug users into treatment. Known as Narcan 2.0, the initiative will require law enforcement officers to contact peer recovery counselors whenever they use the drug, Narcan, to reverse an overdose.

Besides Knapp, Chief Assistant Prosecutor Bradford Seabury, head of the Morris County Prosecutor's Office Special Operations Division; Diane P. Calello, executive and medical director, N.J. Poison Information and Education System; Barbara Kauffman, director of Prevention Services, MCPIK; Vicky Mulligan, an organizer with MorrisCountyStigmaFree.org and Alton Robinson, Recovery Advocate with CARES NJ, will speak at the event.

More than 33,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose in 2015, an average of about 91 deaths per day. Deaths caused by opioid overdoses in Morris County increased from 43 in 2015 to 64 in 2016, and at least 34 such deaths have occurred so far in 2017, according to Knapp. 

For more information, a dedicated website, knockoutopioidabuse.drugfreenj.org, has been created to provide a full schedule of countywide town hall meetings and registration information. The website also provides local, county and state substance abuse prevention and treatment resources available.