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5/18/2016 - Hamilton Township Unveils New, Proactive Community Response Plan to Address Heroin/Opioid Issues

 

Hamilton Township Unveils New, Proactive Community Response Plan to Address Heroin/Opioid Issues

Prevention efforts against substance abuse are not new in Hamilton Township; but thanks to a new, proactive community response plan to address heroin/opioid issues, Mayor Kelly Yaede is looking to enhance the community’s efforts to save lives, while encouraging healthy lifestyles.

As part of the collaborative effort, Mayor Yaede and her administration have worked with community partners like the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, RWJ Barnabas Health (formerly RWJ Hospital – Hamilton),  The Overdose Prevention Agency Corporation (TOPAC) and the Mercer Council on Alcoholism & Drug Addiction, as well as have proactively reached out to Hamilton’s Acting Superintendent of Schools regarding coordinated efforts with Hamilton’s Public School District (a separate government from Hamilton’s Municipal Government). Together with Hamilton’s Police Division and Police L.E.A.D. Officers, the Township’s Health Division and the Hamilton Alliance Against Substance Abuse (a municipal commission), Hamilton is seeking to enhance efforts in addressing heroin and opioid issues.

The collaborative approach includes the following efforts and proposals:

  • Ongoing deployment of Naloxone (Narcan) through the Hamilton Township Police Division, including Hamilton’s School Resource (Police) Officers
  •  Working with The Overdose Prevention Agency Corporation (TOPAC), Hamilton’s Division of Health will also pursue community-wide citizen training efforts for Naloxone
  •  Implementing a process of presenting overdose victims saved with Naloxone (Narcan) and their families with  “save” counseling strategies at RWJ Barnabas Health, in Hamilton, through a coordinated effort with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
  •  Training for Hamilton Township Division of Health Nurses, Hamilton’s Directors of Health and Economic Development and even Mayor Yaede to administer Naloxone (which has already been completed).
  •  Offering Naloxone training to Hamilton Township School District personnel (including School Nurses, Teachers or Administrators who desire training).
  •  Supplementing prevention efforts in Hamilton’s Public High Schools by providing additional emphasis on heroin and opioids within existing school drug alcohol curriculum, which the Municipal Government is hopeful will be welcomed by the School District  

o   Hamilton Township’s Municipal Government would provide a guest speaker to address high schools students during their existing fall and spring semester drug awareness weeks 

Because these efforts and proposals would use existing budgetary resources, the initiatives would not cost any additional taxpayer dollars.    

“As governments seek to carefully protect personal liberty, a painful reality is that governments cannot control individual decisions that rely upon personal responsibility. However, we are continuing to encourage healthy lifestyles, particularly among our children and young adults, and working on additional ways to save lives. And we are also continuing to illustrate our compassion and concern for those battling addiction, which is at the very heart of our community response plan,” explains Mayor Kelly Yaede.  “By working collaboratively with community partners, we can enhance our local efforts even further to make a positive difference in the lives of those struggling with addiction.” 

Already, Hamilton Township uses several, proactive measures in the area of substance abuse prevention.  These existing efforts include:

  • The Hamilton Alliance Against Substance Abuse, which conducts numerous programs that focus on prevention efforts in Hamilton’s school covering the topics of underage drinking/alcohol abuse – which studies indicate, in minors, is a ‘gateway’ to the subsequent abuse other illegal drugs – as well as preventative education measures focusing nicotine, illicit drugs (like heroin and “Molly” (MDMA),  and prescription drugs.
  •  The Hamilton Township Police Division’s L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs) Officers, who through the "Too Good For Drugs" curriculum, seek to prevent cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and marijuana use among middle school students and to reduce the risk factors related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use (i.e. inhalants and street drugs (including heroin and “Molly” (MDMA)).
  •  Hamilton’s “Project Medicine Drop” Collection Box, which is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week, year-round at the Hamilton Township Police Division Headquarters through the State of New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs’ “Project Medicine Drop” program.  The collection box allows members of the community a convenient way to properly dispose of unwanted prescription medications in order to help prevent prescription drug abuse.  

“With strong partnerships with the County Prosecutor’s Office, our local hospital, our anticipated cooperation with our Acting Superintendent of Schools and by working with many other organizations and community partners, we can provide even greater assistance to those who need our help the most,” says Mayor Yaede.