BLOOMFIELD, NJ -- The Essex County “Night of Conversation” with take place at Bloomfield Middle School, 60 Huck Road, on Tuesday, December 5th, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and local advocates are teaming up to discuss the growing opiate crisis. Speakers will include Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Maplewood) and Bloomfield resident and advocate Moira Nelson. Medical experts and law enforcement officials will also be on hand to shed light on the epidemic and how to focus on addressing the issue with teenagers, and people struggling with addiction.

This event is sponsored in part by the Bloomfield Municipal Alliance. The Municipal Alliance’s budget comes from grants from the Governor’s Counsel for Alcohol and Drug Abuse (GCADA) Program. Their slogan is “Think Different, Think Prevention.”

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“This is never an easy topic to talk about but it is one that we must discuss to help those currently struggling with addiction, and prevent others from going down that road, with preventative care and resources,” said Mayor Michael Venezia. “I strongly encourage all parents to attend and listen with an open mind.”

A recent report from the state Health Department indicated Bloomfield was among the top five municipalities in Essex County to have residents admitted to hospitals for substance abuse last year. According to the report, 280 of Bloomfield’s 47,000 residents were admitted to hospitals for substance abuse.

“This is happening everywhere across the state, and even if we’d like to pretend our community is impervious, it isn’t,” said Councilwoman Jenny Mundell, a Board Member on the Municipal Alliance Committee. “People’s lives are at stake and the sooner we recognize the problem and work toward solutions, the better. I would like to thank Moira Nelson for being so proactive in helping us organize this summit, and all of our partners for their dedication and passion.”

The “Night of Conversation”’s panel discussion will focus on how to speak with young people about the topic, and West Orange Police Lt. Richard McDonald will be presented with an award for spearheading the drug addiction prevention program Operation HOPE. This event is free and open to all.

To register for this FREE event, visit the Essex County Night of Conversation EventBrite page