CALDWELL, NJ — All Essex County residents, mayors and councils, law enforcement members, school officials, clergy members, civic organizations and more are invited to join in the next Essex County Opioid Use Prevention Task Force meeting on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss how the Essex County communities can join work together to eradicate this epidemic.

The meeting will be held at the Caldwell University Alumni Theater, located at 120 Bloomfield Avenue, and hosted by Caldwell Mayor Ann Dassing and the Borough of Caldwell. Dinner will be served at 5 p.m.

Guests will hear from police departments how they are working towards supporting those with substance use disorders to obtain treatment and listen to those in recovery from substance use share what is needed to find long-term recovery. They will also be invited to work with the task force in reducing the stigma through communities adopting the Stigma Free Community Proclamation, avoiding advertising arrests of those with substance use disorders, and by bringing awareness that substance use disorder is a brain disease and should be treated as a health issue.

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Presently, from Jan. 1, 2018 through June 11, 2018 there have been 167 suspected overdose deaths in Essex County—the highest of all counties in New Jersey.

According to the task force, more than 630,000 people have died from an overdose in America from 1999 to 2016; around 66 percent of the more than 63 drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved an opioid; an average of 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose; and there were more than 2,000 opioid-related deaths in New Jersey.

To join the conversation, RSVP to Robin Lavorato, Task Force Coordinator  (862) 485-8811.