RARITAN TWP., NJ – A town hall on the opioid epidemic to be held at Hunterdon Medical Center will offer residents a detailed understanding of its effects on the local community.

The event, co-sponsored by Hunterdon Healthcare, will feature a panel discussion and will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 at HMC, located at 2100 Wescott Drive here.

Doors will open at 6 p.m. Prior to the town hall, a representative from the Drug Enforcement Administration - New Jersey Division will set up a Hidden in Plain Sight presentation, which will portray a mock teenage bedroom with everyday items that can actually be indicators of drug use or risky behavior.

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“The opioid crisis ravaging New Jersey has affected every community in the state, but each in a different way,” Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “It is vital that communities hold discussions like the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall as a way to inform residents about the opioid crisis and encourage dialogue among leaders in government, healthcare, law enforcement and prevention to find solutions to address this epidemic.”

Speakers at the town hall will include:

  • Hunterdon County Prosecutor Michael Williams
  • Nava Bastola, Public Health Analyst, NY/NJ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA)
  • Dr. Nimish Mehta, Hunterdon Medical Center, Emergency Medicine,
  • Dr. Jeffrey Moore, Superintendent, Hunterdon Central Regional High School
  • Greg Rearick, Supervisor, Hunterdon Opioid Overdose Recovery Program;
  • Lesley Gabel, Co-Director, CEO, Prevention Resources

More than 3,000 people died from drug overdoses in New Jersey last year, a majority of which was opioid-related. Nationwide, more than 47,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2017, and official figures for 2018 could exceed that total.

Residents can register to attend the town hall online. Attendees can also submit questions for panelists prior to the event and share their personal stories of how they have been affected by the opioid epidemic.