The Center for Prevention and Counseling’s annual substance use disorder conference recently took place on November 18th at Perona Farms with over 200 in attendance. Sussex County Prosecutor Francis Koch opened the morning with a local perspective of the strategies we are using to resolve problems Sussex County is facing, followed by Drug Court graduate Jennifer Nerantzoulis, who shared a personal reflection of recovery and how different people and programs helped her succeed.
The keynote speaker was Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Phoenix House, New York, prominent physician, Andrew Kolodny, M.D. Dr. Kolodny is also the Executive Director and co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Opiate Prescribing (PROP.) In his presentation he detailed how the epidemic of opioid use in the United States was fueled and how we can take steps to solve this crisis. Dr. Kolodny said, “There are really two things you have to do if you’re tackling a disease epidemic. First, you have to contain it, meaning prevent new cases of the disease. And then, you have to see that the people who already have the disease are accessing effective treatment so the disease doesn’t kill them. And that’s basically the approach for the opioid addiction epidemic.”
Dr. Anthony Brutico, D.O., head of the Newton Medical Emergency Department, gave insight into what our Emergency Department sees in regards to substance use issues. He also shared policies Atlantic Health is taking to provide alternative therapies to narcotics for pain management.
A representative from the Regional Operations Intelligence Center Drug Monitoring Initiative gave an overview of New Jersey crime statistics including drug seizures from around the state as well as specifically Sussex County.
Newton Police Chief Michael Richards shared the solutions that law enforcement is offering through the Sussex County Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery (C.L.E.A.R.) Program. After officially launching the program in July, C.L.E.A.R. has paired individuals and family members affected by addiction with certified recovery coaches that serve as personal guides and mentors to recovery. Richards stated that, “From individuals, their families to the entire community, substance use is a health issue, a public safety issue and an economic issue. Just as addiction affects everyone, everyone benefits from helping those with addiction.”
Rachel Wallace, Director of Clinical Services at the Center for Prevention and Counseling, concluded the day with advances in recovery and highlighted medicated assisted treatment options.
Power Point slides from featured speakers are available for you to view to assist in seeing all the details presented at the conference.
(Please note, additional presentations will be shared as they become available by the speakers.)