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Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s Do No Harm Symposium to Further Inform Medical Professionals on Opioids

October 17, 2017

Media Advisory 

WHAT: In response to the opioid crisis gripping the state and country, experts will address members of the medical community on the links between prescription opioids and heroin abuse Monday, October 30, at the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s (PDFNJ) Do No Harm symposium at Atlantic Health System’s Overlook Medical Center.

The seminar is co-sponsored by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, the Drug Enforcement Administration – New Jersey Division, Atlantic Health System and Prevention Links.

“Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that the prescribing of opioids by clinicians has increased threefold in the last 20 years,” said Angelo Valente, Executive Director of PDFNJ. “With opioid abuse at catastrophic levels in our state, the Do No Harm symposium allows leaders and stakeholders from the medical community and law enforcement to come together to discuss solutions for opioid abuse in our state. There are no easy answers.”

Since it launched in 2013, the Do No Harm symposium series has provided information to doctors and health systems to help them better understand the link between opioid prescription drug abuse and rising heroin abuse.

“Atlantic Health System is proud to host this important dialogue between health care providers, lawmakers and law enforcement officials,” said Alan Lieber, president of Overlook Medical Center. “As we work to build healthier communities, our prescribers on the front lines can make significant impact in curtailing opioid abuse while ensuring these medications are dispensed responsibly to patients who need them.”

Atlantic Health System scheduled Do No Harm symposiums at each of the organization’s hospitals, Morristown, Overlook, Newton, Chilton and Hackettstown medical centers, bringing together experts in medicine, law enforcement and law, including Governor Chris Christie at the Morristown event.

“It has been vitally important to include the medical community in our battle against heroin and prescription opioid abuse,” said Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division. “We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship with the PDFNJ on this and other important drug prevention issues.”

WHO: Speakers will include:

  • Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher Jakim, Drug Enforcement Administration – New Jersey Division
  • John E. Morrone, Partner, Frier & Levitt
  • Dr. Sindy Paul, MD, MPH, FACPM, Medical Education Director of the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners
  • Dr. Bruce Bonanno, MD, FACEP
  • Peter Bolo, MD, Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Overlook Medical Center

WHY: From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2015, 12.5 million people in the United States misused prescription opioids, according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The symposium provides prescribers with information on the scope of the opioid epidemic in their community, while also helping them identify ways to prevent prescription drug abuse among their patients and explore safer prescribing practices.

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, October 30 (Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.)

WHERE: Overlook Medical Center, 99 Beauvoir Ave, Summit, NJ 07901