Press Release

This Friday: Forum on Bringing Overdose Prevention Centers to New Jersey

Over 300 Attendees Scheduled to Hear from Public Health Officials, Researchers, Legal Experts and Community Leaders Sharing Innovations in Overdose Prevention

Speakers include Health Commissioner Shereef M. Elnahal, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Russell Maynard of Vancouver’s Insite

Contact:
Roseanne Scotti, 609.610.8243
Suchitra Rajagopalan 347.276.0669

Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death nationally and in New Jersey, with more than 3,000 New Jersey residents dying from overdose each year. The Drug Policy Alliance will be launching a campaign in support of legislation (Senate Bill 3293 / Assembly Bill 4638) to establish overdose prevention centers (also known as supervised consumption spaces) in response to the devastating loss of life.

Overdose prevention centers are locations where people can legally consume previously purchased drugs under the supervision of trained staff. The staff are able to provide immediate assistance in the case of an overdose and connect people to drug treatment, medical care, social services and harm reduction services. Fear of arrest and prosecution, as well as the stigma attached to drug use, force people to hide their drug use or use drugs in unsafe conditions. If these barriers were removed, countless lives could be saved.

Friday’s forum, co-organized by the Drug Policy Alliance and The College of New Jersey, will feature an expert panel of public health officials, researchers, legal experts, and community leaders on innovations in overdose prevention. 

Seats are limited, but press interested in covering this event should contact Ami Kachalia at akachalia@drugpolicy.org  

Where: The College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ, in the Brower Student Center #100

When: Friday, April 5th, 10:00am-1:00pm. 

10-10:10 – Keynote: Shereef M. Elnahal, M.D., M.B.A., Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Health

10:10-11:40 – Panel presentations moderated by Sandy Gibson, PhD, Associate Professor, Graduate Program for Counselor Education, The College of New Jersey 

  • Sheila P. Vakharia, PhD, Policy Manager, Office of Academic Engagement, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Roseanne Scotti, Esq., State Director, New Jersey, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Kassandra Frederique, MSW, State Director, New York, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Russell Maynard, Insite Director, PHS Community Services Society, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Jeanette Bowles, DrPH, MSW, Director of Research and Community Engagement,, Safehouse, Philadelphia, PA

11:55-12:55 – Roundtable moderated by Roseanne Scotti, Esq., State Director, New Jersey, Drug Policy Alliance

Please note: DPA’s Roseanne Scotti will be available for comment and interviews from 9-10am, 11:40-11:55am, and 12:55-2pm.

Additional Background
Over 100 evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies have consistently proven the positive impacts of supervised consumption services, including increased use of drug treatment, improved public safety, reduction in HIV and hepatitis C risks, and increased use of medical and social services.  Moreover, no one has ever died of an overdose at one of these centers.

For more background on the Drug Policy Alliance’s work to advance overdose prevention policies in New Jersey, visit http://www.drugpolicy.org/harm-reduction-new-jersey.

Supervised Consumption Services
New Jersey