Union City wages war against opioids: Experts weigh in on epidemic

It’s an epidemic killing more people than car crashes and homicides combined and the Garden State was frighteningly affected in 2017, with nearly 2,000 opioid overdoses.

To combat these dangerous drugs that have hooked millions, Mayor Brian Stack and the Union City Board Of Commissioners, Union City Police Department, Union City Board of Education and New Jersey Re-entry Corporation hosted an informational event with an esteemed panel at Union City High School on Wednesday.

“Saving our Children” included medical doctors, healthcare professionals, politicians and social service agencies. During the program, attendees had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with industry experts.

“We have joined together in an effort to educate the community on the dangers of drug addiction and to identify the resources for prevention and treatment,” Stack says.

“It is so important for parents, grandparents and guardians to understand the symptoms of drug abuse and addiction and to know they have a place to turn to assist them in seeking treatment for their child,” says Superintendent Silvia Abbato.

“All members of the community have an interest in making sure our kids have a bright and successful future,” he says.

Mercedes Joaquin, UCBOE Director of Community Relations added that they are grateful so many federal, State and community organizations wanted to participate in such an important program.

“Our hope is that families and members of the community take away information and knowledge that they have options for dealing with drug abuse and addiction,” Joaquin says.

The seminar will concluded with refreshments and tables staffed with healthcare and addiction specialists available to answer questions, and offer guidance on addiction and recovery services.

According to the mayor, addiction doesn’t discriminate.

“The opioid and fentanyl epidemic is affecting our children and impacting our community,” Stack says. “This is no longer an issue concerning areas of high crime and unemployment. It concerns every community in the State.”

Heroin deaths have more than doubled since 2013, according to NJ Advance Media, while fentanyl-related deaths skyrocketed 2,000% in the same span.