By Leslie Terjesen on Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato, along with Asst. Prosecutor Anthony Pierro, provided an update to the members of the Ocean County Board of Health and staff members on Ocean County’s heroin problem, how his office is dealing with the issue, and some innovative solutions to help address this problem.


Coronato explained the strategic plan in tackling this issue includes educating our youth and everyone about the dangers of heroin and illicit drugs, enforcement issues, the use of Narcan and how Ocean County is working to get those who have overdosed and then reversed with Narcan into treatment, and treatment options and moving forward, how we can break the cycle of addiction.  Coronato added, “The impact of this drug issue cost the U.S. 193 billion dollars last year.  It is estimated that 25 million Americans have used or are currently using illicit drugs.”


“As the leaders in the field of health, the Board was very appreciative of the presentation and welcomed the information from the Prosecutor,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, Liaison to the Board of Health. He added, “Today was an eye-opener for many and we look forward to the Health Department’s continued collaboration with the Prosecutor’s Office.” 


Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) Public Health Coordinator, said “We have a Health Education team that is in great demand in our county school system and even provide programming to young children on making good choices and self-esteem.   These are building blocks for our children as they move towards adolescence.  In addition, other services include the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Unit, the Ocean County Municipal Alliance Program, which addresses substance abuse prevention, and the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center which provides education and screening intervention to any county resident convicted of an alcohol or drug related motor vehicle violation. ”


He continued, “Our role with the drug crisis is to educate students, parents, teachers, and the community about the dangers of drugs, how to say no and the entire plethora of prevention strategies that we can implement. To hear our Prosecutor and Barnabas Health Recovery Coach, John Brogan, who also attended, discuss the numbers of people who are brought into the hospital on a daily basis, are frightening for everyone. To hear the heroin being sold is mixed with substances such as rat poison is disturbing.  We were all impressed with not only how they are enforcing the law but the compassion and dedication that our Prosecutor has regarding this issue.


Regenye added, “We encourage groups who are looking for educational sessions regarding substance abuse to call our office at 732-341-9700, ext. 7223.  Please visit the Health Department on our website at www.ochd.org or follow us on Twitter@OCpublichealth or like us on Facebook.