New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal will lead a group of experts in a series of webinars focused on opioid addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The series, a collaboration between The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, NJ Cares and the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, will look at the state’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis during the pandemic. The first installment, “The Perfect Storm: The Impact of COVID-19 on Addiction,” will air online at 3 p.m., Thursday, June 11. Future webinars will be held on July 23, August 20, and Sept. 24.
“Even before the coronavirus, New Jersey was battling a different public health crisis—the opioid epidemic. And that crisis isn’t letting up just because we’ve turned our attention to fighting COVID-19,” Grewal said. “This is a difficult time for everyone, but particularly for individuals struggling with addiction. We must double down on our efforts to ensure that treatment and recovery services remain available and accessible to those who need them now more than ever.”
After opening remarks from Grewal, the webinar will feature presentations from Lt. Jason Piotrowski of the New Jersey State Police’s Drug Monitoring Initiative; Heather Ogden, Advocacy Coordinator from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence – New Jersey; and Jaime Angelini, Director of Consumer Services for the Mental Health Association in New Jersey.
The series is part of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey’s philanthropic arm, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey’s two-year “Knock Out Opioid Abuse” initiative. Done in collaboration with Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, the initiative aims to address the opioid epidemic through community outreach, education for parents and prescribers, and statewide awareness campaigns.