Health & Wellness

Press Releases

Local Hospitals Partnering with Law Enforcement, Prevention Links to Offer Resources, Services to Overdose Victims

118b9395902b3907efdd_UCORI_photo.JPG
118b9395902b3907efdd_UCORI_photo.JPG

All three major hospitals in Union County are partnering with local and County law enforcement as well as a Roselle-based nonprofit group in an effort to help drug overdose victims break the cycle of addiction, according to a joint announcement made Monday by acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park, Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan, Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chairman Bruce Bergen, Union County Police Chiefs Association President and Rahway Police Chief John Rodger, Prevention Links Executive Director Pamela Capaci, Trinitas Regional Medical Center Vice President of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health James McCreath, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway Director of Clinical Services Terrence McCarthy, and Atlantic Health System (Overlook Medical Center) Director of Behavioral and Integrative Health Services Lori Ann Rizzuto.

Through a series of collaborative meetings held during the last year, the Union County Opioid Response Initiative was conceived and launched in order to improve the quality of services offered to individuals suffering from drug addiction, increase accessibility to community-level addiction resources, and streamline the fashion in which individuals are either brought to or seek help at inpatient and outpatient facilities across the area.

This marked the continuation of a partnership that also resulted in a November 2016 announcement that Trinitas, in Elizabeth, Robert Wood Johnson in Rahway, and Atlantic Health System, which includes Overlook Medical Center in Summit, had all signed memorandums of understanding with the Prosecutor’s Office pledging to provide new supplies of the lifesaving drug naloxone to Union County municipal police departments on a quarterly, on-demand basis. The Prosecutor’s Office had initially started distributing naloxone to those departments in July 2014, with individual deployments of the drug by police climbing from slightly more than 60 countywide in 2015 up to more than 150 in 2016.

Sign Up for E-News

During that time, the Prosecutor’s Office and its partners agreed that more needed to be done to bridge the gap between simply saving lives and getting overdose victims the rehabilitative help they need. Therefore, the Initiative’s first major step, taken late last year, was to design and distribute to Union County municipal police departments a two-sided, laminated resource guide that today is provided to all recipients of police-administered naloxone. The guide features contact and background information for a wide range of local service providers offering treatment, counseling, rehabilitation, detox, and more.

The Initiative progressed to result in Trinitas, Robert Wood Johnson, and Overlook each introducing its own program through which addiction recovery specialists meet with overdose victims on-site at the hospital.

Trinitas funded its program at the start of the year and services will be available starting today, with one full-time and one part-time paid staff member with LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)/LCADC (Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor) certification assigned to the task. These staffers will be available as often as possible during high-volume hours in the Trinitas emergency room, including as much weekend coverage as the hospital’s budget allows, according to McCreath.

“Initially, the clinician will explain the purpose of the service and encourage the patient’s engagement. The clinician will then conduct an assessment as well as assess motivation for treatment,” McCreath said. “For those consumers who accept services, the clinician will link them to the appropriate level of care. For those who need support managing the transition to the next level of care, the clinician will provide direct supports (temporary housing, replacement clothing, meals, etc.) and/or accompany them to that next level of care.”

Robert Wood Johnson in Rahway launched its program in October 2016, with its contracted addiction recovery specialists available on an on-call basis, 24-7, supplemented by certified emergency psychiatric emergency services staff and registered nurses. Its program is funded by a state grant.

Overlook anticipates launching its program in May 2017, with volunteer addiction recovery specialists being trained directly through Prevention Links.

All three hospitals have agreed to share their program data and outcomes with the Initiative in order to track effectiveness and tailor future efforts to meet specific needs of county residents battling addiction.

“The data collected will enhance existing community health assessments and will frontline Union County’s need for secure federal funding in order to combat the prescription opioid and heroin crisis,” Capaci said. “Further, adequate funding will allow for enhanced program infrastructure and implementation processes, heightened engagement of key stakeholders, and timely expansions of the Initiative in areas where greater need is assessed.”  

Specifically, Capaci noted, the information obtained will:

  • Include non-identifying  information on each individual receiving services;
  • Provide timely data necessary for accurate trend analysis, including;
  • Understanding of the individuals who participate in the program
  • Understanding of changing environmental factors  
  • Inform level-of-care criteria and  treatment proceedings;
  • Measure community-level, substance abuse-related health outcomes;
  • Inform opportunities for health promotion and prevention;  
  • Assist in the assessment of Initiative best practices; and
  • Inform fiscal management and planning

Via quarterly usage reports, it is expected that the data collected also will be utilized by state and federal policymakers and researchers in order to inform future substance use policy and practice, Capaci added.

“In the past, law enforcement’s role in efforts to stem the tide of drug addiction was mostly limited to identifying, apprehending, and prosecuting those responsible for distributing illegal narcotics. Today, however, considering the scope of the problem, it’s clear that we need to get much more involved in prevention and treatment in addition to enforcement,” Prosecutor Park said. “This Initiative offers us a chance to do just that, and it is our expectation that everyone who lives and works in Union County will benefit as a result.”

A total of 249 people have died due to drug overdoses in Union County since 2011, including 52 in 2016. All but nine of those 52 victims died due to acute heroin intoxication, prescription opioid intoxication, or both.

Those statistics mirror national trends. More than 50,000 Americans suffered a fatal overdose in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with that cause now eclipsing auto accidents as the nation’s most common type of accidental death. The majority of drug overdose deaths nationally (more than six out of 10) involve some type of opioid.

New Jersey was one of 19 states designated by the CDC as experiencing a statistically significant rise in its drug overdose death rate from 2014 to 2015, with an increase of 16.4 percent.  

“I'm proud that we in Union County are doing more than ever to ensure that our citizens battling drug addiction can get easy access to the help they so desperately need,” Sheriff Cryan said. “It’s only through collaborative partnerships such as these that we can effectively address this problem.”

In the photo: from left, Union County Public Safety Director Andrew Moran, Union County Prosecutor's Office acting Chief of Detectives John G. McCabe, Jr., Springfield Police Chief and Union County Police Chiefs Association First Vice President John Cook, Union County Sheriff Joseph P. Cryan, Atlantic Health System Director of Behavioral and Integrative Health Services Lori Ann Rizzuto, Trinitas Regional Medical Center Vice President of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health James McCreath, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway Director of Clinical Services Terrence McCarthy, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park, Prevention Links Executive Director Pamela Capaci, Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chairman Bruce Bergen, and Elizabeth Police Department Capt. John Brennan appear outside the Ralph G. Froehlich Public Safety Building in Westfield to mark the public announcement of the Union County Opioid Response Initiative.

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Upcoming Events

Fri, February 23, 8:30 AM

Honor Ridge Academy, Clark

Workshop for Parents & Educators: Reducing ...

Education Giving Back

Carousel_image_c70953d894be29a344d3_best_b59229b3972266545812_magnet_fundraising_auction_2018_flyer_0219

Fri, February 23, 6:30 PM

Union County Vocational Technical Schools, West Hall Cafeteria, Scotch Plains

Union County Magnet High School Silent Auction

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Giving Back

Carousel_image_0c8803896cbb8d6cdca4_black_love_matters__2018

Fri, February 23, 7:00 PM

First Unitarian Society of Plainfield, Plainfield

Black Love Matters: A Celebration of Love!

Health & Wellness

Plainfield's Mayor Mapp: The Youth are Setting Examples for All of Us

February 23, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - I am so inspired and moved by the courage and leadership being shown by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who lost their friends and classmates in one of our nation's most horrific school shootings just over one week ago. These students have taken an unspeakable tragedy and turned it into a powerful and positive force for change. Their efforts are inspiring a ...

Statement by Mayor Colleen Mahr

February 23, 2018

First, congratulations to Chairman Nick Scutari. I look forward to working alongside him as 1st Vice Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee. 

For the last three weeks, this campaign for UCDC Chair displayed the power we have and the voice we share. You are the leaders, citizens and activists who are helping shape our future. What you do in your hometowns and participating in the ...

Cops Called for Two People Shouting Racial Slurs During ‘Black Panther’ in Sparta

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night after a drunken woman and her boyfriend interrupted a screening of the movie “Black Panther” by shouting racial slurs, according to a witness and police.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including ...

Plainfield ofrece vacunas gratuitas para personas sin seguro o con seguro insuficiente

February 21, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - La Ciudad de Plainfield ofrece vacunas gratuitas para quienes no tienen seguro o están asegurados.

El programa está patrocinado por el Departamento de Salud de Nueva Jersey y el Programa de Vacunas para Niños (VFC). Las vacunas están disponibles los martes de 1 a 5 p.m. y los jueves de 9 a.m. a 1 p.m. en el Edificio Anexo del Ayuntamiento, 510 ...

¡HOPES CAP, Inc. Ofrece Preparacion de Impuestos GRATIS en su Communidad!

PLAINFIELD, NJ - ¡HOPES CAP, Inc. Ofrece Preparacion de Impuestos GRATIS en su Communidad!

Los servicios estarán disponible en los siguientes lugares:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Habrá disponible ayuda con la aplicación para números de ITIN y también habrá Auto
Preparación de ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Rapps Pharmacy: What You Need To Know About The Flu

There seems to be no end in sight for the current flu season which has touched every part of the country, and right here in New Jersey.  Rapps Pharmacy, an independent, full service, and locally owned Plainfield neighborhood pharmacy, offers these tips:  

As influenza virus activity increases and is likely to continue circulating for upcoming weeks, the Centers for Disease Control ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)

 

Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...

Drama by Raina Telgemeir

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic, 2012) (target audience, Young Adults)

 

When my daughter, Shauna, was six years old, we took her to see her first Broadway production; a revival of The Wiz starring Stephanie Mills. I knew that it was the last time Mills could get away with playing Dorothy, and I impressed upon Shauna that seeing this show was a special moment in her life. As a ...

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone, 2017)

Yesterday my cousin, the daughter of my mother's sister, called me from California where she lives, and hit me up for money. This is not the first time she has asked me for money, and not the last, I am sure. She grew up the daughter of a privileged family and cruised to Europe frequently when she was a child. Her wardrobe came from ...

The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb

The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb (Atria Books, 2017)

 

Sharyn McCrumb is, quite simply, an American gem, and one of my favorite authors. From her books set in Appalachia with strange characters who remind us of our pioneer past, to St. Dale, a masterpiece about the legendary car racer, Dale Earnhardt in McCrumb's NASCAR series, McCrumb's poetic language and attention to ...