New anti-drug group has meeting planned


A local civic-minded group concerned about the spread of opioid abuse among all ages is inviting parents and others to a public forum on the subject.

Parents Against Drug Dependency (PADD), formed last month, drew close to 30 people to its initial meeting and now has slated a follow-up for Thursday, May 4, at the American Legion hall, 314 Belgrove Drive.

Organizer/moderator Kim Luciano, a Kearny Fire Department dispatcher who is trained as an EMT, said the meeting, slated for 7 to 9 p.m., will feature several guest speakers:

Third Ward Councilwoman Carol Jean Doyle.
Kearny EMS Chief Harry McNeill.
Kearny High School guidance counselor/anti-bullying coordinator Courtney McShane.
Denisha King, clinical social worker/therapist of Kearny Family Services.
Ed Callaghan, a clinical psychologist.
Local residents Leonard Twist and Jack Elsmore. Twist, a co-coordinator of Kearny’s TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) program, will offer a story of “hope and recovery” while Elsmore is “a father with an inspiring story of hope and intervention.”

A flier advertising the gathering cautions that substance abuse “is a growing problem that is killing a generation of our youth. The community as a whole suffers. Education is freedom.”

“The point of these meetings,” Luciano said, “is to raise awareness for our cause … This started in my living room and is a subject extremely close to my heart.”

Part of the mission, she added, is to deal with “ending the stigma that comes with talking about it.”

Another goal, Luciano said, “is to have access to information you wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise.”

That information, she said, will be available from folks who encounter, counsel and/or treat young and old and those in-between for opioid dependency.

In Kearny, EMS responded to more than 45 incidents involving overdose victims, all of whom, she said, were revived by administering NARCAN nasal spray.

“Don’t wait until you need the answers,” the group’s flier says. “Arm yourselves with knowledge now.”

Learn more about the writer ...