Education

Mayor Asks Montville Board of Ed for Help with Township's Opiate Problem

Mayor Jim Sandham Credits: Melissa Benno
District Administrator James Tevis swears in members John Morella, Carmela Novi and Michael O’Brien Credits: Melissa Benno
Board Member David Modrak Credits: Melissa Benno
Theresa Cavanaugh Credits: Melissa Benno

MONTVILLE, NJ – Mayor Jim Sandham spoke at the Jan. 3 Montville Township Board of Education meeting during the public portion to ask the board’s help with Montville Township’s heroin/opiate problem.

In 2016 Montville Township held the record for most deaths in the county due to heroin/opiate overdose, and Sandham asked the board to bring the problem to the County Superintendent, with the hope of trying to solve the problem on a county-wide basis in the schools, since the problem starts at a young age, he said.

“I called upon the Sheriff, who was in attendance [at our Jan. 1 township committee reorganization meeting], to try to do something on a county-wide basis, because solving it just in Montville doesn’t help if addicts can just go to Parsippany or some other adjacent town,” Sandham said. “I think it will take a county-wide effort to solve the problem."

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“I know you do plenty already, but the extent that you can do something on a county-wide level on your side of the aisle, as well as what the police, from the township committee and elected officials - I think it would benefit everyone,” Sandham told the board.

Board Member David Modrak said he had lost a cousin to heroin who was 24 years old and said he had spoken with addicts.

“When I asked how they started, it was explained to me that there are too many opiate-containing pain medications available,” he said. “Kids get a hold of them in their parents’ medicine cabinets, get addicted, and when the parents cut off the pills, the kids go to heroin, which is cheaper. I hope we can work together and I hope that will be a model for other towns in the county.”

Board Member Michael O’Brien said he was hard hit by the seven deaths in the community and it had been a topic of discussion at his table following his attendance at the Jan. 1 Montville Township Committee reorganization meeting.

“I think it’s [very] important that the township committee and the board of education work together,” O’Brien said. “This problem is so dramatically important. [We need to] put all our resources and our minds together to move forward as much as we can in cooperation on this issue.”

Board President Matthew Kayne agreed that it is also a statewide and countrywide issue and anything that can be done “as a community on the local level would be a positive virtue.”

Kayne was re-elected unanimously by the board as president, and Board Vice President Carmela Novi was re-elected unanimously as vice president. Members John Morella, Carmela Novi and Michael O’Brien were sworn in for additional terms. O'Brien is starting his second term, while Novi and Morella are starting their third terms.

Appointments were made according to the bylaws for such positions as board secretary, board attorney, district auditor, district physician, architect and other positions. These can be viewed here.

Also during public portion, former special education teacher Theresa Cavanaugh spoke to the board to congratulate them on their professionalism. She asked about handicapped access to the Montville Township High School auditorium.

District Administrator James Tevis said a lift will be installed in the auditorium to the left of the stage area.

O’Brien thanked the township committee for refurbishing the chambers in the municipal building.

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