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Northern Highlands Daily Voice serves Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Midland Park, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River & Waldwick

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USRA Coalition: Doctors To Warn Northern Highlands Parents Of Opioid Danger

"Prevention is a powerful tool to counteract drug use in our communities," USR Mayor Joanne Minichetti said.
"Prevention is a powerful tool to counteract drug use in our communities," USR Mayor Joanne Minichetti said. Photo Credit: COURTESY: USRA Coalition

ALLENDALE, N.J. -- Addiction doesn't always begin at a party -- it could start in the family medicine chest.

Experts will tell parents what to consider before their teens have surgery or treatment for chronic pain during a "Physician's Perspective on Drugs and Opiods" at Northern Highlands Regional High School later this month.

Sponsored by the Upper Saddle River/Allendale Coalition, the boards of health from each town and Hackensack University Medical Center, the free April 25 event features panelists:

  • Michael Kelly, the chairman of orthopedic surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center;
  • Jerry Joseph, a psychiatrist and substance abuse specialist at HUMC; Family advocate Lauren Wright;
  • Gail Cole and Lani Bonifacie of "Hope and Healing After an Addiction Death."

The USRA Coalition was created last year, funded by a two-year, $150,000 Drug Free Community Mentoring Grant, to address the increase of opioid and other drug abuse.

Only two other towns in the United States were awarded the Mentoring grant in 2017 -- one in Florida and the other in New Mexico.

At the completion of the two years, the Coalition will be eligible to reapply for a five-year, $625,000 grant. Another five-year grant will be available after that to continue the program, Upper Saddle River Joanne Minichetti said.

“The partnership between Upper Saddle River and Allendale is a true win, since we share our high school and student/parent community," Minichetti said.

However, she added, "the intent is to make programming we provide at the regional level through the funds to be inclusive of Ho-Ho-Kus and Saddle River students.

"Prevention is a powerful tool to counteract drug use in our communities," the mayor said, adding that the coalition's aim is "to help our young people make healthy choices regarding substance use.”

The event will run from 7-8:30 p.m.

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