Belleville, NJ – In response to a national call from the Surgeon General of the United States emphasizing the importance of Narcan, a life-saving medication that can stop or reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, the Center of Excellence for Latino Health at Clara Maass Medical Center will host training sessions in May and June to educate the community on the use of Opioids. The sessions will also provide instruction on the use of Narcan, and a free kit will be distributed to those in attendance.

Four sessions – planned for Thursday, May 31 at 11 AM will include a separate session at 12:30 PM for the Spanish-speaking community.  A second series will be held at 5:00 PM on Monday, June 18, 2018 with a session to be conducted in Spanish only at 6:30 PM.  Both sessions will be held in The Learning Center at Clara Maass Medical Center, 1 Clara Maass Drive in Belleville, NJ. The sessions are free and open to the public.

“Educating our community about the use of Opioids, its effects and life-saving treatment that can be given to those we know and care for is the right thing for us to do” said Mary Ellen Clyne, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Clara Maass Medical Center.

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“Due to increases in the use of Opioids, there is a deep need for training on how to use Narcan, especially among the Latino community.” said Sarah Bonilla, MPH, Program Manager for the Center of Excellence for Latino Health at Clara Maass Medical Center. The Center of Excellence, which is funded by the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and Verizon seeks to improve the wellness of the Latino community through outreach, education and meaningful collaborations.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), Narcan nasal spray can temporarily stop or reverse the effects of an Opioid or heroin overdose. Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine, as well as the illegal drug heroin. The spray is approved for use in adults and children and can easily be administered by first responders, family members or caregivers. Drug overdose deaths, driven largely by prescription drug overdoses, are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States – surpassing motor vehicle crashes. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the number of drug overdose deaths had steadily increased for more than a decade.

The sessions will be facilitated by Queenie Reda, MSW, Health Educator and Jose A. Cruz, LCSW, MBA, Addictions Consultant and Mental Health Clinician from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Space at both events is limited and parking will be validated for all guests. Light refreshments will also be available.                              

Registration is required. To register, contact Sarah Bonilla, MPH at 973-450-2996 or