Police & Fire

Fanwood, Scotch Plains Police Host Forum on Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic

Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo makes his opening statements on illegal drug addiction. Credits: Sean Conklin
Dozens of local residents turned out on Wednesday afternoon to participate in the educational forum “Confronting a Crisis” highlighting the heroin and prescription opioid abuse epidemic. Credits: Sean Conklin
Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr delivers opening remarks on illegal drug addiction. Credits: Sean Conklin
Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park delivers her opening remarks on preventing and monitoring illegal drug trafficking. Credits: Sean Conklin
Julie Peterman, Director of the Guns, Gangs, Drugs and Violent Crimes Taskforce of the Union County Prosecutor's Office delivers a keynote presentation on "Confronting a Crisis." Credits: Sean Conklin
Sergeant Gary Webb of the Union County Prosecutor's Office of the Guns, Gangs, Drugs and Violent Crimes Task Force outlines the administration of naloxone at the resource table. Credits: Sean Conklin
Scotch Plains Police Captain Paul Belford talks with residents after the public forum. Credits: Sean Conklin
Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo and Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr have a conversation after the forum. Credits: Sean Conklin

FANWOOD, NJ – Dozens of local residents turned out on Wednesday afternoon to participate in the “Confronting a Crisis” educational forum at the Forest Road Park building in Fanwood highlighting the heroin and prescription opioid abuse epidemic. It featured the expertise of some of the top law enforcement officials in Union County. 

The forum, organized by Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo in collaboration with the Scotch Plains Police Department, outlined the troubling trend of fatal overdoses and drug addiction in Union County. Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr and Acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park delivered the opening remarks after Chief Trigo’s introduction to the session.

The 45-minute keynote presentation was delivered by Julie Peterman, Director of the Union County Prosecutor’s Guns, Gangs, Drugs and Violent Crimes Task Force, who has more than a decade of experience in narcotics.

Sign Up for E-News

Peterman outlined the sequences that lead to heroin addiction, which often starts with prescription opioid abuse and painkillers. However, illegal narcotics are not reviewed or regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), she explained. The substance fentanyl, present in more than half of fatal overdoses in Union County over the last three years, is a commonly-used element and outlawed due to its potency.

This year, there has been a total of 34 fatal overdoses (on pace for 122 in 2017), a pace that would be up significantly from 2016 and would mark an increase nearly twice as high as the 64 reported fatalities in 2015.  

One of the steps to preventing fatal overdoses has been the introduction of Naloxone, which blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication. It was introduced to Union County municipal police departments in July 2014 and has been deployed 301 times in 20 towns while saving 283 lives.

"This program was brought to our town to show that this problem does not have boundaries and it effects every town throughout Union County and across New Jersey," said Fanwood Chief Richard Trigo. "The was evident as on the day of the forum, a large scale arrest occurred in Scotch Plains."

The forum was followed up by a Q&A session of concerned residents, who had the opportunity to see the illegal drugs and paraphernalia first hand. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Westfield Gets $15K Grant for Inclusive Playground Equipment for Children with Disabilities

March 16, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- Scotch Plains will receive a $25,470 grant, while Fanwood will get a $15,000 award from the “Level the Playing Field” grant program from Union County, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders announced Thursday.

The program was designed to help every Union County municipality provide inclusive playgrounds to children with ...

The Day After

Some years ago, the United Nations held the International Summit on Sustainable Development, here in Johannesburg. The Summit was a great success. One wonders, though, whether all the wonderful decisions and resolutions that were adopted were ever implemented. In other words, were they themselves sustainable?

Good ideas and worthwhile projects are suggested regularly. The question is, do they ...

Why I Have Joined Sandy Hook Promise

March 2, 2018

Dear Editor:

Since the day I was sworn-in as Mayor, I have made the safety of Scotch Plains residents, especially our children, my highest priority.

Working with the Township Council, Police Chief Conley and his dedicated Police department, we have added two new police officers and various promotions to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our Police force. School safety is always at ...

How to Stay Connected to Your Partner After a Newborn

March 11, 2018

Life changes instantly once we have a newborn.  It is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences a couple can have. It brings joy and a newfound commitment to the relationship and now to a family of three. Grandparents, family and friends are eager to get involved with helping and visiting. Responsibilities increase, expenses increase and privacy decreases. Our routine ...

Students at Congregation Beth Israel Receive Their Own Prayer Books

March 15, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Third graders in the Religious School at Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains received their own prayer books (siddurim) at a ceremony for their families on Sunday, March 11.  The families participated in a short program, with the students leading some of the prayers they had learned and explaining the meaning of their Hebrew names. Rabbi Howard Tilman led ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, March 17, 5:00 PM

Mountainside Elks Lodge No. 1585, Mountainside

Mountainside Elks Annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner

Food & Drink


Sun, March 18, 10:00 AM


Camp Riverbend Open House


Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Maple Sugar Sunday