Mayor Yaede’s Community Response Plan Leads to Greater Focus on Heroin/Opioid Abuse in High Schools’ Drug Awareness Efforts
After a call by Mayor Kelly Yaede earlier this year for a greater focus on heroin and opioid abuse in Hamilton’s existing high school drug and alcohol curriculum, freshman and sophomore students are participating in a week-long program of drug awareness and prevention in their health classes starting this week.
The week will begin with students learning about the Overdose Prevention Act under the instruction of the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. Following this, students will then receive classroom instruction on various drugs with a focus on both the personal and family-related effects of substance abuse. The week will conclude with assemblies featuring speakers who will discuss their own personal struggles with substance abuse.
In the spring, high school juniors and seniors will participate in the same week-long program of drug awareness and prevention activities.
“We all care about our community’s children and want them to enjoy healthy lifestyles that will provide them with the best opportunities to succeed. That is why enhancing our preventive education efforts at the high school level was a major focal point of our community response plan against substance abuse,” explains Mayor Kelly Yaede.
This past spring, Yaede announced Hamilton’s Community Response Plan to address heroin/opioid issues. The plan was built upon several community partnerships, such as with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, RWJ Barnabas Health (formerly RWJ Hospital – Hamilton), The Overdose Prevention Agency Corporation (TOPAC), the Mercer Council on Alcoholism & Drug Addiction and Hamilton’s Public School District. The multi-faceted effort included:
• Hamilton’s ongoing deployment of Naloxone (Narcan) through its Police Division
• Pursing community-wide citizen training efforts for Naloxone
• Presenting overdose victims saved with Naloxone (Narcan) and their families with “save” counseling strategies at RWJ Barnabas Health in coordination with the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office,
• Training on how to administer Naloxone for Hamilton’s Division of Health Nurses, other Township officials and Mayor Yaede
• And supplementing prevention efforts in Hamilton’s Public High Schools
Hamilton’s Community Response Plan was sought to complement previously existing efforts by the local government, such as though:
• The Hamilton Alliance Against Substance Abuse, which is the local government’s official coordinating body for the planning, awareness and education of substance abuse prevention efforts and conducts numerous prevention efforts in Hamilton’s school
• The Hamilton Township Police Division’s L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs) Officers, who administer the "Too Good For Drugs" curriculum to middle school students
• 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 for residents to properly dispose of unwanted prescription medications in order to help prevent prescription drug abuse
“Although it is painful reality that government cannot control individual decisions that rely upon personal responsibility, we continue to prioritize efforts that will encourage our children and young adults to avoid drugs, such as heroin and opioids. I am very pleased that that the Hamilton Township Public School District was a willing partner to help implement this additional component.”