(Paramus, NJ) – June 28, 2013 – In the wake of headlines about the growing problem of heroin use by young people in Bergen County, The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources, a program of Children’s Aid and Family Services, hosted a community forum about heroin along with Senator Robert Gordon and Assemblyman Timothy Eustace. The Center brought together people from all over the county – law enforcement, legislators, prevention professionals, concerned parents and families – to raise awareness of the rise in prescription drug abuse and heroin use among suburban youth.

“We really want to get people talking about the messages we give, how we care for each other, about what our social policies are about alcohol and drugs,” said Bob Jones, Ph.D., president & CEO of Children’s Aid and Family Services.

Lt. Tom Dombroski of the Bergen County Prosector’s Office discussed the recent investigation into heroin use and the findings. In 2012, there were 28 heroin overdose deaths in the county, there were nearly 20 in 2011, with the average age between 21 and 27. Often, the gateway to heroin use is prescription painkillers. Kids get them from a doctor to treat a sports injury or simply take them from their parents’ medicine cabinet. When prescription medication becomes scarce and expensive, they move on to heroin. Its purity enables the user to smoke or snort the drug; skills with which they may have had experience in the past.

A young woman spoke who had been addicted to prescription pain killers throughout her twenties. She was arrested several times and had family and health problems as a result of her addiction. Eventually, she went to prison for two years and then to a halfway house. With family support and therapeutic help, she is in recovery. She said that now that she is clean, “she has a life that’s beyond my wildest dreams.” Ellen Elias, Vice President of Prevention and Addiction Services at Children’s Aid and Family Services and Director, The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources, spoke of what the community can do together. “We need to be informed of what’s going on, we need to talk to our kids and each other, we must get rid of unused prescription drugs at drop off locations, we need to be alert and lock up medicines that we use and we need to work with our local legislators to bring about changes in laws. This problem may seem overwhelming, but there are support, resources and educational tools for families, and professionals you or a loved one can reach out to for advice and guidance. There is hope.”

More community forums are being planned for fall 2013. For more information, visit www.tcadr.org.

About The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources

The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources provides community and school-based education programs about alcohol and drug abuse and advocates for responsive prevention and treatment services. The Center’s offices are located in Hackensack and its services are available throughout Bergen County.

About Children’s Aid and Family Services

Children’s Aid and Family Services is one of the leading nonprofit human services organizations serving northern New Jersey. The agency is fully accredited and has served the community for more than 110 years. Its mission is to preserve, protect and, when needed, provide families. Motivated by compassion for vulnerable children, young adults, frail elderly and their families, it provides high-quality and innovative services that meet their social, educational and emotional needs. For more information on Children’s Aid and Family Services and to learn more about volunteer opportunities, call 201.261.2800 or visit www.cafsnj.org.

For more information:
Liz Mason (201) 261-2800 lmason@cafsnj.org
Sheila Riccardi (201) 261-2800 sriccardi@cafsnj.org

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