Posted Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Fighting the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic in Morris County

Stigma Free Morris County: Forum on Opiate and Heroin Epidemic Tomorrow in DoverThe Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Sheriff’s Office along with the Dover Police Department will present a symposium on the Heroin and Prescription Opioid Epidemic that is plaguing Morris county, the state and the nation on Wednesday, May  3.

The forum will be held at 7 p.m. at Dover High School, which is located at 100 Grace St., Dover, N.J. 07801

In New Jersey, nearly 1,600 people died of drug overdoses in 2015 — two times the national rate and a 22 percent increase from the year prior. Some estimates show 128,000 New Jerseyans addicted to heroin. At the May 3 forum, you will hear from local law enforcement experts on what is being done to stop this growing health crisis.Dover Town seal

The Dover Board of Aldermen and mayor recently voted to become a Morris County “Stigma Free’’ municipality, making Dover the 14th town in Morris County to join the countywide effort to help eradicate the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

“To truly change the way society views individuals with substance abuse and mental illness disorders we must change our language, attitude and be more compassionate,” said Dover Mayor James P. Dodd.

“Regardless of the spectrum, we all know or have people in our lives who face these challenges. I’m proud to join the growing number of municipalities that pledge to work toward a more understanding and accepting community for all.”

Stigma Free Morris County: Forum on Opiate and Heroin Epidemic Tomorrow in DoverThe Board of Freeholders in 2016 passed a resolution designating Morris County as a Stigma-Free County and asked the county’s 39 towns to consider enrolling.

Morris County has created a Stigma Free website to call attention to the initiative, provide information and resources, and a calendar of upcoming events related to mental illness and substance abuse.

Wednesday night’s forum one in a continuing series of opiate and heroin forums in Morris County, with a following event scheduled on the evening of May 10 in Kinnelon.

It is part of a coordinated countywide effort of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Board of Freeholders, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, local municipalities and police departments and school districts, plus a host of nonprofit agencies to raise awareness of the opioid and heroin epidemic.

“We are working in a coordinated countywide effort to deal with these troubling issues, which are ruining individual lives and destroying families, who are hard-pressed to deal with this deadly affliction,’’ said Freeholder Director Doug Cabana.

“By raising public consciousness of this heroin-opioid epidemic, it is our hope to stem the tide of addiction and related deaths,” said Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp.

More than 33,000 Americans – about 91 a day — died from opioid overdoses in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Morris County is hardly immune from the growing epidemic as fatal opiate overdoses in the county rose from 43 in 2015 to 64 in 2016.