PARAMUS, N.J. -- Bergen County residents are invited to attend -- and join in on -- a discussion of the heroin and prescription drug epidemic at a special Town Hall meeting on May 31 at Bergen Community College.
"People have to realize that it can happen to them," a mother who lost a child to drug abuse said. "Parents don't think it's going to happen to them. Our children didn't think it was going to happen to them. The community -- everybody just kind of just sweeps things under the rug.
"It can [happen] and it does."
The "Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall" meeting provides "an opportunity to engage with the community to educate families about prevention, safe prescribing options, Narcan training," said Marge D'Anna, a volunteer with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. "We also to change the public perception toward addiction and the stigma that goes along with it," D'Anna, who helped arrange the Bergen County event, told Daily Voice.
Organized with the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, the Town Hall series joins hundreds of local prevention and treatment workers, as well as local and county law enforcement, government and medical community leaders.
There were 87 overdose deaths in Bergen County last year, Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal noted. A majority of the 308 total overdoses in the county were opioid-related, he reported.
Grewal will be among the Town Hall speakers, along with county Executive James Tedesco; Samantha Harries, director of The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources; state Assemblyman Joseph A. Lagana; and Sue A. Marchese-Debiak, director of the Division of Addiction Services - Bergen County.
The event runs from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, May 31 at the BCC Tech Center, 400 Paramus Road in Paramus. Doors open at 9:15 a.m.
MORE INFO: knockoutopioidabuse.drugfreenj.org