Bergen County residents are invited to join the conversation on the national opioid epidemic as the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey continues its Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall series.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Wednesday, May 31 (Doors open at 9:15 a.m.)

WHERE: Bergen Community College Tech Center, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, NJ 07652

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The event also is being livestreamed at knockoutopioidabuse.drugfreenj.org/livestream.   

Organized with the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, the town hall series focuses on the issue of prescription drug dependency and heroin abuse.

“The Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall series will engage New Jerseyans in a frank discussion that raises awareness and underscores that when it comes to opioids, an ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of cure,” said Robert Marino, Chief Executive Officer and President of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.   

The Bergen County Town Hall is co-sponsored by the Bergen County Department of Health Services, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Bergen Community College and the Bergen County Prevention Coalition.

“All residents of New Jersey are encouraged to join the conversation and participate in their local Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall to understand the disease of addiction, develop strategies to help protect their families and identify resources to address individuals who have become dependent on prescription drugs or are abusing heroin,” said Angelo Valente, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

Speakers include:

  • Gurbir S. Grewal, Bergen County Prosecutor
  • James Tedesco, Bergen County Executive 
  • Michael A. Kelly, MD, Professor and Chairman, Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of       Medicine
  • Samantha Harries, Director, The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources
  • Assemblyman Joseph A. Lagana, Deputy Parliamentarian
  • Sue A. Marchese-Debiak, Director, Division of Addiction Services - Bergen County

In 2016, 70 overdose deaths and 176 non-fatal overdoses related to opioids occurred in Bergen County, according to a report by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. Additionally, the report stated that county law enforcement agencies were responsible for 180 Narcan saves last year.

“This is an epidemic that requires a collaborative response – one that brings together law enforcement, county government, health care professionals, counselors, recovery specialists, educators, families and others,” Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal said. “That is why this forum is so critically important.”

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 will provide local, county and state substance abuse prevention and treatment resources available.

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 161 Advertising and Public Relations Awards from National, Regional & Statewide Media Organizations.