Ocean County Seniors and Experts Exchange Dialogue on Opioid Crisis at Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall

11/6/2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 3, 2017

Contact: Matt Birchenough, 201-916-1032, media@drugfreenj.org

Ocean County Seniors and Experts Exchange Dialogue on Opioid Crisis at Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall

An expert panel presented a comprehensive view of the opioid epidemic afflicting Ocean County and New Jersey at a Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall held Thursday, November 2 in Brick. From left, Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Executive Director Angelo Valente, Dr. Raymond F. Hanbury of Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Meridian Health; Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato; Kelli Chiarello, the Clinical Program Manager for Hackensack Meridian; Chief James Riccio of the Brick Township Police Department; and Anthony Castellano, Vice President of Substance Use Services for Preferred Behavioral Health Group.

BRICK — Ocean County seniors and other residents joined the critical conversation on the national opioid epidemic at Thursday’s Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall held by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

In New Jersey, an estimated 2,000 people died of an opioid overdose in 2016. More than 200 of those deaths occurred in Ocean County.

“Ocean County is not immune,” said Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Executive Director Angelo Valente. “There is not a day that goes by without hearing or seeing a story in our neighborhood or in the media on the impact of the misuse of prescription medication, heroin abuse, the countless overdoses impacting all of our communities and so many of our families dealing with the day-to-day challenges of this disease.”

A panel of experts addressed the opioid crisis from the perspectives of law enforcement, the medical community, government, treatment and prevention. The panel featured Chief James Riccio of the Brick Township Police Department; Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato; Anthony Castellano, Vice President of Substance Use Services for Preferred Behavioral Health Group; Kelli Chiarello, the Clinical Program Manager for Hackensack Meridian; and Dr. Raymond F. Hanbury of Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Meridian Health.

 

Organized with the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, the series focuses on the link between prescription drug dependency and heroin abuse and examines the causes of the current opioid crisis and possible solutions in addressing the issue. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Kiwanis International and the Brick Township Police Department served as collaborating partners for the Ocean County town hall.

“New Jersey has the sixth highest rate in the nation of visits to the emergency room due to opioid abuse,” said Mary Ann Christopher, Vice President of Clinical Operations and Transformation for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. “We know how important addressing this epidemic is, and that’s why we welcome the opportunity to do our part to help Knock Out Opioid Abuse in New Jersey.”

The Ocean County town hall was the 11th in the 17-part series, which began in April and will continue into 2018. The next Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall will be held December 5 in Union County at Kean University

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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