Drug Abuse Signs, Treatment, Trends Covered In Recent Conference

Among the guest speakers and event coordinators at the Drug Recognition Conference at Centenary Collage were left to right, William Eppell, Warren County Prosecutor's Office, Diane Bonelli and Mary Jo Harris with the Coalition for Healthy and Safe Communities, Rich McConnell, Warren County Guidance Center, and Brendan Liston and Tom Busch of the New Jersey State Police.

Dozens of law enforcement, first responders, and Prevention & Health Partners from throughout the state came together at Centenary College in Hackettstown for a Drug Recognition Course led by the Drug Monitoring Initiative (DMI) out of the NJ Regional Operations Intelligence Center (ROIC). 

Recognizing a myriad of issues surrounding drug use and abuse in the state, this course was intended to update officials about current trends, programs, and solutions to the problem.  

Det. Teddy Garcia with the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office provided an overview of Warren County drug trends. 

The event, which drew about 100 participants from throughout the state covered not only drug recognition, but Narcan Administration for EMS (used to treat an opiate overdose), Fentanyl 101 for Police, Fire and EMS, the Overdose Protection Act, Heroin Strict Liability, and recognition and response to possible hazardous material incidents.

Among the conference’s guest speakers were Det. I Brendan Liston and Det. II Thomas Patimetha of the NJ State Police, Terry Clancy of NJ Dept. of Health, Jim Doran of University Hospital, SSG James Kube of the NJ National Guard, Michael De Marco from the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, and Mary Jo Harris, Coalition Coordinator from the Family Guidance Center’s Coalition for Healthy and Safe Communities.  

“This type of training brings communities together to address the issues of heroin and opioid abuse that is now a public health issue,” said Harris. ”We were happy to collaborate with a number of state and county agencies in providing the first responders, treatment, and prevention service providers, as well as healthcare and school staff, with this valuable information in recognizing and reporting incidents involving heroin and opiates.”

The conference was sponsored by the Middle Atlantic-Great Lakes Organized Crime Law Enforcement Network (MAGLOCLEN), the ROIC, NJ Dept. of Health Office of Emergency Medical Services, NJ State Police Hazardous Materials Response Unit, Warren County Prosecutor’s Office, Family Guidance Center’s Coalition for Healthy and Safe Communities, and Centenary College. 

Similar trainings have been held in 25 other locations around the state in the last two years.   

For information on how to recognize the signs of substance abuse, please contact the Coalition for Healthy and Safe Communities, a program of the Family Guidance Center, at 908-223-1985 or visit their website.

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