Other NJ News

Bergen Officials and Professionals Team-Up to Knock Out Opioid Abuse

d374c6dd445362147714_71047ea85cbccdbd2333_opioid_seminar.jpg
Joel Pomales, director of Clinical Outreach & Advocacy, director for SOBA College Recovery, speaks at May 31 town hall to "Knock Out Opioid Abuse" at Bergen County Community College, Paramus. Credits: Rebecca Greene
d374c6dd445362147714_71047ea85cbccdbd2333_opioid_seminar.jpg

PARAMUS - There were no sad stories, only sad statistics at the town hall meeting to address the growing opioid abuse "epidemic" today at Bergen County Community College.

"Not a day goes by when we don't feel the impact, see the misuse or how it touches families," Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, said in his opening remarks of the two-hour seminar.

It was the fourth of 17 town hall seminars held in communities statewide about opioid abuse.

Sign Up for E-News

Opioids, such as Morphine, Oxycodone, Fentanyl and Tramadol, are substances that produce morphine-like effects. Opioids are most often used medically to relieve pain.

Presenters were not shy about labeling opioid and the cheaper heroine abuse that often follows as a problem that escapes no population.

Tracy Parris-Benjamin, LMSW, Clinical Design Liaison for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ—a co-sponsor of the event, along with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, said as a social worker, she sees how the abuse has affected "the young, the old and all types of socioeconomic groups."

After praising the private sector's help, Bergen County Executive James Tedesco III said in spite of government and law enforcement efforts, "We have not been able to slow this down. We haven't been able to come up with a solid way to treat it."

But, he insisted, "one person can make a difference."

Tedesco asked for legislative support, specifically funds, to support treatment centers, such as Bergen Regional Medical Center which now has 84 detox beds.

"This way people can stay here instead of having to go away to places in Pennsylvania to be treated, near family," Tedesco said.

Dr. Michael Kelly, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at Hackensack University Medical Center and chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, blamed himself, in part, for the problem.

A knee specialist, Dr. Kelly said prescribing opioids before and after surgery was a popular treatment several years ago.

When he was asked to lecture on the opioid abuse three years ago, he said his research led him to an uncomfortable conclusion.

"I'm part of the problem," he said. "It was time to look at alternative pain management solutions."

Of those who are prescribed post surgical pain medications, "one in 15 go into long term abuse," Dr. Kelly said.

"We were giving too much medicine, mainly because we knew when we would get that call on a Saturday night, there was no way for the patient to go out and get more relief," he said.

Current legislation, among the strictest in the country, allows just five days of medication, where in the past, there was no limit. Practitioners are permitted to prescribe more medicine under certain conditions.

According to the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians, physicians, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, or advanced practice nurses are authorized to prescribe controlled substances.

The law, which Governor Chris Christie signed in February, does not apply to those in active treatment for cancer, to those receiving hospice care from a licensed hospice or palliative care, to those who are residents of a long term care facility, or to any medications that are prescribed in the treatment of substance abuse or opioid dependence.

The law has affected drug abuse, drawing with it a stigmatization of those affected and treatment, not to mention punishment.

According to Gurbir Grewal, Bergen County Prosecutor, there has been an attempt over the last few years to change that.

"Since 1999, prescriptions for opioids have quadrupled," he said. "So have the amounts of overdoses."

There were 308 overdoses in 2016 in Bergen County.

Narcan™, which law enforcement now possesses, reverses the effect of an overdose. When a person is overdosing on an opioid, breathing can slow down or stop and it can be very hard to wake them from this state according to the state of NJ website. Narcan™ (naloxone) is a prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose. It cannot be used to get a person high. If given to a person who has not taken opioids, it will not have any effect on him or her, since there is no opioid overdose to reverse.

"We can't arrest our way out of a public health problem," Grewal said. "We are going after the distribution side, though."

When someone is arrested for use, Grewal said treatment options are now offered.

"Out of 42 arrests, 15 took us up on a five-day detox program and then 15 more took us up on it because we were persistent," he said.

Samantha Harries, director of the Center for Alcohol & Drug Resources, said that all such things help, but there is no "one magic bullet" that treats the problem.

"We all have to work together," she said, recognizing law enforcement and medical efforts.

"It used to be using alcohol when you were young was a rite of passage," she said. "But we now know the younger someone starts using, the more likely it is to become a problem for them later on."

Joel Pomales, director of Clinical Outreach & Advocacy and director for SOBA College Recovery, said he knows that to be true first hand.

At 15, he had a substance abuse problem that he nor his family understood.

"I had this picture of addiction, a homeless person walking around with a brown paper bag," he said. "There was that stigma, that someone because of the addiction, you were a bad person."

Pomales said after he learned it's a "chronic brain disease," he was able to see the proper treatment and has been in recovery since July 2011.

"When addiction was criminalized, the whole 'just say no' movement," he said. "What many people don't realize is you don't have the ability to say no."

Pomales said there was shame and hiding attached to his illness.

"Parents think they did something wrong, but there so much more to it," he said. "I learned that when I don't talk about it, I let other people define who I am."

The final speaker recognized the hard work required by addicts.

Sue Marchese-Debiak has spent 27 years in addiction treatment. She is the executive director of Spring Halfway House for Women, and the Bergen County Coordinator of the Office of Alcohol and Drug Dependency Services.

"Spring House is that long-term continuum of care that is a key in effective treatment," she said.

Once the initial treatment is concluded, there is "how to live sober," she said. "We teach women nutrition and push and promote the 12 steps of recovery."

Marchese-Debiak said she wants to bring the same program to the county for men, hopefully in the coming year.

"We need to live without judgment and the stigmatization," she said. "We need to be supportive."

###

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Bloomfield

Pilch Street Pedestrian Bridge over Parkway in Bloomfield to Close this Summer for Repairs

June 20, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Residents in the area around the Pilch Street Bridge over the Garden State Parkway will have to find a new place to watch the July 3 fireworks at Brookdale Park as the bridge will close for repairs starting Monday June 25. 

 Extensive improvements to the Pilch Street Pedestrian Bridge over the Garden State Parkway near exit 151 will start next week. The project is ...

Teen-involved Crashes Kill 10 People a Day Between Now and Labor Day

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - More than 1,050 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver during the, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2016. AAA reports that the average of 10 people per day is a 14 percent increase compared to the rest of the year.

As school lets out for the summer, AAA stresses the importance of preparing and educating inexperienced teen drivers for ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_9f96b00f934f44e64d68_fridays-for-families-social-media-03

Fri, June 22, 3:00 PM

Outside of U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's office, Morristown

Fridays for Families: Vigil in Morristown calls ...

Government Health & Wellness Law & Justice

Carousel_image_b4f18dfd4f07fd561026_letslisten7-ellington-mplspecs-revised

Fri, June 22, 6:00 PM

Montclair Public Library Auditorium, Montclair

Let's Listen to Jazz

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_984ecc3b936a1ba5ae0c_kingsland_manor_nutley_nj

Sat, June 23, 10:00 AM

Kingsland Manor, Nutley

Floral Design Class at Kingsland Manor Nutley

Education Home & Garden

Carousel_image_5e177eaae57739064cd4_397f63ad2fb50392a776_29178074_2107642336134787_2638697507160326144_n

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Totowa

MakerFest 2018

Education

Carousel_image_ce51c1baeec53a8dcdfb_st_huberts_logo

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Madison

Kids' Critter Camp

Education

Carousel_image_84a90ab7ab886a6c6979_lbi_sosc_june_25_2018_02

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Anthony Santomauro, North Caldwell

Legends Baseball “School’s Out Baseball Camp”

Education Health & Wellness Other Sports

Carousel_image_e752ddf907f15c564a87_mini_magick20180604-3930-10lbnus

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, Little Falls

Yogi Berra Museum Summer Softball Camp

Health & Wellness Sports

Bloomfield Police Department Blotter June 11 - 17, 2018

June 21, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.

Shoplifting:

6/14/18- Erky, Luna Age 36 of Newark, NJ- Officers were dispatched to 60 Orange Street (Home Depot) on a report of a shoplifting. The suspect was observed placing multiple items in his waist band, pockets and a plastic bag. He then fled the area on ...

Former Maplewood School Staffer Facing Criminal Charges For Alleged Lewd Photos of Students

June 21, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A former Jefferson Elementary School paraprofessional has been charged with criminal behavior believed to be related to lewd photos of students at the school that were found on his cell phone after he was arrested in Morris County on an unrelated sexual charge.

It also appears that South Orange Maplewood School District officials knew about the arrests as early as ...

Essex County Undersheriff Kevin Ryan dies

Kevin Ryan, a former Assemblyman from Nutley who served as an Essex County Undersheriff, has died.

Ryan, 49, served for nearly two decades in the Essex County Sheriff's Office, rising to the rank of undersheriff. He also served a year beginning in January 2011 as State Assemblyman before redistricting changes.  

Ryan was a close confidante of Essex County Sheriff ...

Three School Buses Involved in Crash at Clark's ALJ High School

June 21, 2018

CLARK, NJ - Three buses collided in the Arthur L. Johnson High School parking lot around noon on Thursday.   There were students on the buses at the time according to Police Chief Pedro Matos.   

One driver and two students had minor injuries said Matos.   According to a Honeywell alert issued by the Clark Public School District, ALJ's school nurse ...

Student Struck by Car in Front of Edison School in Westfield Thursday

WESTFIELD, NJ — An Edison Intermediate School student was struck by a car Thursday morning while crossing the street in front of the school. According to Police Chief David Wayman, he was transported to a hospital with a laceration.

In an email to parents, Principal Matt Bolton wrote that the student appeared to be doing well, and that he was following the crossing guard’s ...

Long Beach Township's Tuesday Night Concert Series Kicks Off on June 26

June 20, 2018

LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP - There will be concerts on Tuesday evenings at Bayview Park every Tuesday evening this summer. The concerts are from 7 to 9 p.m. 

Here is the Tuesday, Long Beach Township Concerts schedule:

Tuesday, June 26:  Mr. Lovejoy

Tuesday, July 3 Chris Fritz and The Impulsives presented by Barlow Buick GMC

Tuesday, July 10   Billy Walton Band ...

State Lawmakers Calling on Feds to Lift Strict Limits on Fluke Fishing for This Season

TRENTON, NJ — While New Jersey anglers began the fluke season last month with strict federal catch limits still in place, state legislators are pushing to have those regulations lifted until there is better data available on the popular fish’s offshore stock.

The State Assembly is asking the federal government to suspend a 40 percent quota reduction that enters its second year ...

America's Celebrated Evolving Journey

June 17, 2018

This Fourth of July, the United States of America will celebrate its 242nd birthday since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Our Nation was conceived in liberty at its core. Together we the people, with ancestors from every part of the world, continue the struggle to live by its founding noble principles.  Namely that, “We hold these truths to be ...

The Power of Positive Engagement

To the Editor:

I wanted to share this letter from Laurie Beacham, Media Director for NJ 11th for Change, about the notable increase in voter turnout and citizens deciding to run in the recent primary election:

"The 11th Congressional District has a lot to be proud of. In the June 5th primaries, voter turnout climbed from almost 33,000 in 2014 to over 86,000. Democratic ...

Bloomfield Bengals Sports Update May 21, 2018

Volleyball advanced to the County final with wins over Science Park and Montclair. Unfortunately, Livingston got the better of the Bengals in the County Championship Match.   

At the County Track and Field Championship Meet the Girls Team had a fine showing placing 5th overall. Leading the way was Kaela Edwards-2nd in high hurdles and Aicha Naouai- 2nd in javelin. The best ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update May 14 2018

 At the SEC Championship Meet La’Shan White equaled his school record in winning the 400-meter hurdles. He also won the 110- meter High Hurdles and anchored the winning 4x400 relay team. Aicha Naouai won the Javelin with a throw of 126’6.5(#9 NJ) and the Discus with a mark of 95’5”. Warlys Lizardo won the Boys Discus at 120’.

Kristina Collins reached ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 21, 2018

TRENTON - No one questions that the state pension system is a mess. And that's why some proposed legislation is getting a critical eye. Politico says the Assembly is set to vote on a bill today that it claims is "expressly written" to fatten the pensions of Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) and state Sen. James Beach (D-Camden) without them having to ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015)

Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with elegant imagery, and rich in emotional wallop. The book, divided into three sections, ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

NJ 11th for Change Endorses MIKIE SHERRILL for Congress

June 19, 2018

NJ 11th for Change Endorses MIKIE SHERRILL for Congress

Sherrill Meets Group’s Endorsement Criteria and Will Best Represent District’s Values

MONTCLAIR, NJ – NJ 11th for Change announced today that it has endorsed Mikie Sherrill for the U.S. House of Representatives seat in the 11th Congressional District of New Jersey.

After a comprehensive process including candidate ...

Rutgers Equine Science Center Annual Summer Showcase Scheduled for July 11

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — The Equine Science Center at Rutgers University is hosting its annual "Summer Showcase" from 10 am to noon  on Wednesday, July 11 at the Equine Exercise Physiology Laboratory on College Farm Road on the George H. Cook Campus in New Brunswick. The Summer Showcase, similar to an open house, is a FREE event that is open to the public and perfect for any and ...

Horse Care Workshops at Lord Stirling Start June 23

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable is offering Horse Care Workshop 101 for adults and youth seeking to gain experience and confidence around horses through a combination of non-riding activities and hands-on practice.

Horse Care Workshop 101 will be held at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ beginning Saturday June ...

Essex County Freeholder President Brendan Gill Proclaims June LGBT Pride Month

NEWARK, NJ – Essex County Freeholder President Brendan Gill announced that the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders passed a resolution at their last meeting, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, proclaiming June as LGBT Pride Month in Essex County.

“I am proud to stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters in recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month, and look forward to continue working ...

Obituaries

Jun 10, 1983 - Jun 17, 2018
Ryan M. Lucas, 35 Proud Marine Veteran and Nutley Firefighter Ryan M. Lucas, a lifelong ...
Read more
Sep 4, 1943 - Jun 10, 2018
William “Bill” Tangorra, 74, of Grand Rapids, Michigan passed away Sunday June 10, ...
Read more

The End of Jets Mini-Camp

After a week of crystal clear cerulean skies over 1 Jets Drive, the New York Jets just wrapped up their mandatory full squad mini-camp.

New York Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles held press conferences after practices last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Jets fans have lots of questions at this time of year on what to expect from their team this fall. The press questions covered a wide ...

Thirty Days after the Draft

It’s been just about thirty days since the 2018 NFL Draft and the New York Jets have been working hard to build the team fans have been waiting for. Let’s recap the first round draft pick before discussing OTA’s and other Jets info.

Some New York Jets fans were certain earlier in the 2017 season that with the way the win-losses were going, Sam Darnold would be the New York ...