FANWOOD, NJ – In recognizing officers of the department who had helped save lives of people who had overdosed this year, Police Chief Richard Trigo took the opportunity at Monday night’s Fanwood Council meeting to encourage residents to attend a forum on drug awareness on Wednesday, May 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Forest Road Park.

 “We have been using NarCAN, we saved five people’s lives in the past 12 months,” Trigo said in an interview with TAPintoSPF prior to the meeting on Monday. “Drug addiction is a problem in every community. We (law enforcement) need to educate the public. It’s always been looked at as an urban problem and it needs to be dealt with now in our community.”

The police chief strongly encouraged the public to rid their homes of any prescription drugs that are no longer needed.

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“Right now we have the Project Medicine Drop Box, and so does Scotch Plains. People should not keep drugs that are no longer needed in their medicine cabinet,” Trigo explained.

The chief told the Council that he has noticed that the department frequently has had to replenish police information made available at Quick Check on drug use and its effects.

“We keep replenishing those pamphlets. People are taking the information,” Trigo said. “We want people to know that the police are here, and we can help you deal with it.”

“This problem reaches kids, middle age, and older people. It does not discriminate against any group. What’s surprising is that between 70-80 percent of people who become addicts start with drugs prescribed by a doctor,” Trigo explained. “They might need only five pills, but in their medicine cabinet is a one-month supply. Don’t keep the pills there. Get rid of them.”

“Confronting a Crisis,” will take place at the Forest Road Park building in Fanwood and feature a presentation by the acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park's “Guns, Gangs, Drugs, and Violent Crimes Task Force.”

“This is an issue that absolutely does not discriminate – it impacts people of all ages, from teenagers to people in their 60s,” Chief Trigo said. “It impacts citizens of all ages, races, and backgrounds. We are stepping up our efforts to make sure that citizens are well-informed.”  

The Guns Gangs and Violent Crimes Task Force will bring examples of what the drugs look like so that parents can learn to identify them.

“There are different vapors kids use. As a parent you don’t know what’s in it,” Trigo said. ““I’m hoping as many people as possible will come. The more people we reach, the better.”

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