Health & Wellness

Rutgers Helps NJ Tackle Opioid Epidemic


NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - With opioid drug overdoses becoming a growing national health crisis, Rutgers experts have created a toolkit to help communities across New Jersey combat the deadly problem.

Students, faculty and clinicians at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers recently launched the Opioid Abuse Toolkit: Resources for New Jersey Communities. This free toolkit includes a step-by-step guide to plan and execute various community initiatives and provides resources for those struggling with opioid addiction disorders, directly or indirectly.

“We developed this turnkey tool for organizations to use to increase awareness and provide educational resources to address this opioid crisis,” said Saira Jan, a Rutgers clinical professor of pharmacy who led the initiative.

Sign Up for E-News

In New Jersey, as the opioid epidemic continues to grow, 1,454 people died of drug overdoses in 2015, a 16 percent increase from 2014.

The Rutgers team compiled the toolkit from a number of sources, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens and Operation Prevention.

“This is an excellent resource for community members who want to help share the best information about opioid abuse prevention and addiction treatment options for people in need,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

The toolkit also includes supplemental posters and presentations that are available for download at no cost and can be adapted for any community group’s needs. They cover topics including:

- increasing awareness through social media;

- administering naloxone in cases of overdose;

- setting up and advertising for drug take-back events;

- providing resources for parents and teens;

- training volunteers on the opioid epidemic.

The 49-page toolkit has seven sections, which walk users through event-planning basics, community outreach initiatives, drug overdose prevention and resources for dealing with addiction, and outreach at schools for all grade levels. With the help of the toolkit, for example, community organizers can plan a “Drug Take-Back Day” with local authorities for unwanted and unused prescription drugs, educate real estate agents about securing prescription drugs during open house tours, and learn what to do in case of an opioid overdose.

“The pharmacy school aims to increase education about this major health issue with this wide-ranging toolkit,” said Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy Dean Joseph Barone.

The toolkit and supplemental posters, presentations, pamphlets and additional resources can be found on the pharmacy school website.

“We want to get as much good information out to as many people in New Jersey as possible,” Jan said.

The Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy team partnered with Community in Crisis, a nonprofit organization that works within the Somerset Hills community to fight the heroin/opiate crisis and prevent overdose deaths, to create this toolkit. Community in Crisis’s action plan stemmed from a New Jersey governor’s report in 2014 on the heroin and opiate epidemic.

The newly released toolkit is one of several Rutgers initiatives focused on addiction prevention and treatment, including free training for New Jersey police departments, continuing education for addiction and behavioral health professionals, and the Recovery House living space for students who are recovering from addiction. Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care manages New Jersey's 24/7 substance abuse hotline.

The NJ Addiction Services Hotline has made more than 15,500 referrals to treatment providers.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Brunswick

Prosecutor defends his effort to oppose release 911 tape.

March 5, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey, who was recently ordered to pay two news organizations more than $100,000 for legal fees in a battle over a 911 call, defended his decision not to release a recording of the call related to a fatal police shooting.

On March 2, a state Appellate Court upheld a lower court decision ordering Carey’s office to pay $71,848.28 ...

Rep. Watson Coleman Urges Support for Students Participating in Protests: Letter to Local School Officials Asks for Encouragement Rather Than Punishment

March 16, 2018

EWING, NJ – Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) sent letters to principals and other school administrators in New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District urging support and encouragement for students who engage in protests and demonstrations for gun violence prevention amid reports that some New Jersey schools had suspended or otherwise punished students for their ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, March 23, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey , New Brunswick

Motown the Musical

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, April 7, 2:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

Arts & Entertainment

East Brunswick Public Library Hosts “The Jews of Tsarist Russia and Bessarabia Before the Holocaust” Program

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) presents the fifth installment in the series “The Jews of Eastern Europe Before The Holocaust” on April 8 at 2:30 pm.

“The intent of the series is to bring to light the legacy of my Jewish ancestors, prior to their annihilation during the Shoah,” said Dr. Michael G. Kesler, ...

Need a Passport? Save Money by Getting It Before April 2

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ—If you are planning to get a new United States passport, you can save $10 by submitting your application at the East Brunswick Public Library (2 Jean Walling Civic Center) before Monday, April 2.

The cost of a passport’s execution fee is rising from $25 to $35. The fee increase is mandated by the Department of State for any passport application submitted to ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...