Ocean County residents on Thursday can learn about and discuss what the opioid epidemic looks like in their communities and how they can help people suffering from addiction.
Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey will host its Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall at the Greenbriar 1 Residential Complex in Brick Township, where panel speakers from law enforcement, local government and the medical and treatment communities will talk and take questions from residents.
Angelo Valente, executive director of the partnership, said all residents, especially seniors, are encouraged to come out so they can “understand the disease of addiction, develop strategies to help protect their families and identify resources to address individuals who have become dependent on prescription drugs or are abusing heroin.”
Speakers will include Brick Township Police Chief James Riccio; Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato; Anthony Castellano, vice president of substance use services at Preferred Behavioral Health Group; Michael Capko, manager at DART Prevention Coalition; and Raymond Hanbury, psychologist at Hackensack Meridian Health.
Drug-related overdose deaths in New Jersey are on the rise, experts say, estimating the final 2016 numbers are higher than the previous year’s death toll of 1,587 people. The majority of those who died had taken heroin and/or prescription opioids, state data showed.
There were 157 drug-related deaths in Ocean County in 2015, one of the highest totals in the state, according to the state Medical Examiner’s Office.
Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has held town-hall meetings in several counties this year, including Atlantic in April and Cumberland last month.
The Ocean County event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at 1 Dardley Circle in Brick. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. For more information, visit knockoutopioidabuse.drugfreenj.org.