The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and Atlantic Health System Partner to Fight Opioid Epidemic


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, October 5, 2017

Contact: Matt Birchenough, 201-916-1032,


The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and Atlantic Health System Partner to Fight Opioid Epidemic

MILLBURN — The severity of the opioid epidemic in New Jersey requires leaders to take a greater role in seeking solutions to stem the pain and tragedy being inflicted upon state residents. Atlantic Health System, an integrated health care delivery system headquartered in Morristown, has accepted that challenge.

The health system has taken a proactive approach to addressing the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic by working with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey to provide education on safer prescribing and the new opioid prescribing laws for both healthcare professionals and the community.

The health system will participate in Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day on Friday, October 6, by helping to distribute informative materials to healthcare providers and the communities it serves. Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day increases understanding of the opioid crisis through a volunteer effort with a dual focus: educating physicians and raising awareness among New Jersey citizens and families. It is designed to inform residents and health care providers on the links between prescription opioids and heroin misuse and the steps they can take to stem the epidemic.

“The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey applauds Atlantic Health System for its dedication in addressing the opioid epidemic,” said Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. “By teaming with the Partnership to better inform healthcare professionals and New Jersey residents on the risks of prescription opioids, Atlantic Health System has proven to be ahead of the curve in its efforts to find solutions for this public health crisis.”

By year end, Atlantic Health System will have hosted a Do No Harm Symposium-- seminars focusing on the medical community’s role in stemming the opioid dependency by emphasizing safer prescribing practices organized by the Partnership, the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, the Drug Enforcement Administration – New Jersey Division and local partners—at each of its five hospital campuses.

“Atlantic Health System understands the delicate conversations that need to happen between patients and their prescribers around pain medication and safe prescribing, and is mindful of the role prescribers play in the war against opioids,” said Loriann Rizzuto, director of behavioral integrative services for Atlantic Health System. “We are truly on the front lines, and will continue to work to find best practices that ensure those who need high-level pain medication can receive it, as well as provide resources and on-the-ground support to help those who have already become addicted.”

In addition to its work with the Partnership, Atlantic Health System partners with regional and community organizations to combat this ongoing crisis. Examples include:

  • Atlantic Health System donates Narcan to local police departments and EMTs, as well as provides training for the community on how to use it.
  • Each of its five hospitals has a peer-recovery support system in place, where people who come to the emergency department because of an opioid overdose, and being treated with Narcan are connected to with someone in recovery.
  • Morristown Medical Center and Chilton Medical Center support the Morris County Sherriff’s Office’s HOPE 1 project, where an undercover, plain-clothes officer and social outreach worker take a van to areas known to be high-risk for opiate use and provide education and counseling support. 
  • Morristown Medical center will be hosting a county-wide Stigma-Free conference about mental health, including its connection to opioid abuse, on November 1.
  • Overlook Medical Center works with Union County CLEAR (Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery) program on peer support and developing protocols on how to best serve the needs of Union County. The medical Center is also part of the Union County Opiate Consortium.
  • Newton Medical Center works with Sussex County CLEAR (Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery) program on peer support and resources for those who want to recover.
  • Hackettstown Medical Center received an invitation to join in the Warren County Community Collaborator’s meeting and Heroin and Opioid Task Force to address prevention, treatment and recovery of those suffering from substance abuse.


Best known for its statewide anti-drug advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication.  To date, more than $70 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership’s New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey’s history. Since its inception, the Partnership has garnered 166 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.