NEWTON, NJ — Residents will join local experts to discuss the opioid epidemic’s impact on the community and seek possible solutions at a Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall, sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ).

The Newton Medical Center Town Hall will examine the nature of the opioid crisis in the community and what actions are being taken to address it. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday, March 13, in Newton Medical Center’s Romano Conference Center, 175 High Street, Newton, NJ 07860. Doors open at 9 a.m.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, through its philanthropic arm, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, is collaborating with PDFNJ on a two-year Knock Out Opioid Abuse initiative to address the opioid epidemic through community outreach, prescriber education, parent education and a statewide awareness campaign. The Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Series brings experts on the opioid epidemic from various fields, including law enforcement, the medical community, government, prevention, treatment and recovery together for events in communities in all 21 New Jersey counties.

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Speakers at the Newton Medical Center Town Hall will include:

  • Anthony Brutico, DO, Medical Director, Emergency Department, Newton Medical Center
  • Sussex County Prosecutor Francis A. Koch
  • Tina Aue, Director of Prevention Services, Center for Prevention & Counseling
  • Katie Calvacca, Recovery Support Coordinator, Center for Prevention & Counseling; Recovery Coach, Sussex County CLEAR
  • Bill Foley, Athletic Administrator, Vernon Township School District
  • Rev. Robert Griner, Christ Episcopal Church
  • Nick Loizzi, Substance Abuse Services Coordinator, Sussex County Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Substance Abuse and Alcohol Services

“The opioid epidemic is a multifaceted issue that requires a dynamic approach in which parents, community leaders, medical professionals, law enforcement, and other members of our communities must work together and develop ways to resolve this public health crisis,” said PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente.

The town hall is being held in collaboration with Atlantic Health System’s Newton Medical Center, the County of Sussex, and the Center for Prevention & Counseling.

“Horizon looks forward to continuing the statewide conversation on how to combat the larger opioid epidemic and applying what we learned from the first round of town halls to actionable steps that connect people to localized services and solutions,” said Jonathan R. Pearson, Executive Director of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. “In addition, town halls will be streamed live so that anyone can attend and experience the discussion.”   

Additional resources for attendees will be available prior to the town hall, including naloxone training, on-site prescription medicine disposal and a Hidden in Plain Sight presentation, which portrays a mock teenage bedroom with everyday items that can actually be indicators of drug use or risky behavior.

“CFPC has been on the forefront of addressing opioid use through prevention, providing treatment and has a thriving recovery community center that is dedicated to serving Sussex County,” said Becky Carlson, Executive Director of the Center for Prevention & Counseling. “We continually strengthen partnerships between key sectors to support overall community health and to build comprehensive strategies that reduce risk factors for opioid use and addiction.”

Residents can visit to register to attend town halls, submit questions for panelists prior to the events, and share their personal stories of how they have been affected by the opioid epidemic.

The website also features information on scheduled town halls, videos from each event and a look into the lives of New Jersey residents who have been affected by the opioid epidemic. It also includes an online continuing medical education program for prescribers and information on parent education through the 5th Grade Parent Alert.

For more information on the Newton Medical Center Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall or to see a list of other upcoming town halls, visit


Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey: Best known for its statewide substance use prevention 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 $100 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 180 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.

About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's oldest and largest health insurer is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, vision and prescription insurance products and services. Horizon BCBSNJ is leading the transformation of health care in New Jersey by working with doctors and hospitals to deliver innovative, patient-centered programs that reward the quality, not quantity, of care patients receive. Learn more at Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association serving more than 3.4 million members.


About The Horizon Foundation For New Jersey: The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is committed to working alongside those who can help us improve our neighbors’ health, inform their health decisions and inspire them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. The Foundation’s funding pillars are Caring, Connecting and Creating. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the sole member of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, both of which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit