EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Bill Schmincke is determined not to let the memory of his son Steven fade away.

Schmincke and about 20 other people attended the Township Committee meeting Wednesday night wearing red shirts adorned with the slogan “Stop the Heroin” to address growing concerns over heroin addiction in the region. 

“I don’t want my son to be a statistic,” Schmincke said during the meeting as he broke down in tears.

On March 26, the Schmincke family found Steven, 26, sitting upright on a bed in their mobile home about 9:30 a.m. He was dead after a three-year battle with heroin addiction, his family said. In February, Steven Schmincke tried to get into rehab for two weeks but was unable to, Bill Schmincke said.

“We need to bring awareness and at some point change laws,” said Schmincke, 51. “We need more funding for rehabs for people. If a person is ready to go to rehab, there should be funding available for them.”

Township ambulances are going have Narcan — a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose — starting in July. The township is set to purchase about a dozen doses of Narcan, township Administrator Peter J. Miller said, adding that the patient’s insurance companies will pay for the cost of the drug when it is administered.

Heroin overdoses remain a significant public health concern in South Jersey.

“Heroin is a disease,” said Committeeman Joe Cafero. “This is not something that we should hide from.”

Schmincke said the problem is severe.

“The local government, state government, and federal government are not prepared for this epidemic,” Schmincke said. “There is not enough funding for these sober living homes. People have to wait for days and days to get into rehabs, when an addict decides that they are ready to make that move, there should be a door open for them.”

Contact: 609-272-7046

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