BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Essex County residents are invited to be a part of the discussion on the opioid epidemic ravaging New Jersey and the nation at a Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall hosted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.

The Town Hall will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 22 at the Bloomfield Public Library, 90 Broad St., Bloomfield, NJ 07003. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for registration. The event will be held in collaboration with the Bloomfield Health Department, Bloomfield Municipal Alliance Committee, the Drug Enforcement Administration – New Jersey Division and Essex County.

“It is important that residents play a major role in this conversation and participate in the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall to learn more about the disease of addiction and how this crisis is affecting their community,” said Angelo Valente, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. “No community is immune to the opioid epidemic, and only by coming together can we effectively explore solutions to address this crisis.”

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The series, which has been hosted in counties throughout the state, focuses on the link between prescription opioid dependency and heroin use and examines the causes and possible solutions of the opioid crisis from several perspectives, including law enforcement, government, the medical community, prevention, treatment and recovery.

In 2016, the most recent year from which complete data is available, 271 people in Essex County died from drug overdoses, most of which were opioid-related, according to the New Jersey Office of the State Medical Examiner. That total was the highest among New Jersey’s 21 counties.

Speakers will include:

• Janet Phillips, PsyD, Program Manager, Rutgers Health – University Behavioral Healthcare

• Mariel Hufnagel, Executive Director, The Ammon Foundation

• Lewis S. Nelson, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Rutgers NJMS; Chief of Service, Emergency Department, University Hospital

A dedicated website,, includes the full schedule of countywide town hall meetings and registration information. also provides local, county and state substance abuse prevention and treatment resources available.