A Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall revolving around the residents of Atlantic County was recently held by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey at Stockton University. Residents of Atlantic County, New Jersey attended the event to talk about heroin and prescription drug addiction plaguing their communities, and methods to potentially steam this public health crisis. State Officials have claimed that drug overdoses took the lives of 85 people in Atlantic County back in 2015. Heroin use was the cause of over half of those deaths. Sandra Hannah, a 51-year-old woman who had quit taking drugs 15 years ago, also participated in the event in order to help out.
Above all, Sandra Hannah attended the event so she could find out what the residents could do to deal with the county’s heroin and opioid epidemic. The hundreds of residents that were also present at the town hall were also eager to know about the same thing as well. Addicts recovering from substance abuse, community advocates, experts specializing in addiction treatment, law enforcement, legislators, students and others were among those attending. Lauren Smith, Atlantic Prevention Resources’s Community Initiatives Coordinator, stated that even though people think that this health crisis may not affect their children or members of their family, but someday it actually might.
Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey teamed up to organize this event, which is a part of a series. To promote discussion about the soaring addiction and overdose rates, more similar events will be taking place throughout the state in the coming days. Damon Tyner, the Atlantic County Prosecutor who was recently appointed, was among the panelists. According to him, opioid abuse is currently one of America’s top health issues.
One of the questions that Sandra Hannah asked was regarding what the county is doing to augment supportive services being offered to the local addicts who are currently recovering from drug abuse. A great deal of the discussion was about what measures New Jersey’s authorities have been doing to support both people undergoing treatment and those who have already been treated.
Chris Christie, the current Governor of New Jersey, made an announcement back in January during his State of the State address. He announced that efforts would be made on a much larger scale to initiate programs and provide resources like recovery coaches and sober-living homes for recovering addicts who have undergone detox and treatment. Sandra Hannah has been recovering from addiction for almost the past 15 years. According to her, there is a lot more that recovering addicts require while they are undergoing treatment and even after their treatment is complete. She even added that something needs to be done about the drug dealers “on every corner.”
Damon Tyner also stated that Atlantic County officials are making efforts to use more strict liability for death charges involving drugs. Apparently, Atlantic County officials have even teaming up with the officials from other counties in New Jersey, namely Cape May, Cumberland and Ocean County. They are hoping to track drugs more efficiently and effectively prevent them from entering these counties. Alton Robinson, a treatment expert from the CARES Recovery Center, also concluded that despite all the barriers that are present in the path to curbing and eliminating addiction, it is possible to overcome them.