Hudson & Bergen prosecutors hosting combined vigil for OD awareness in North Bergen

The Hudson and Bergen county prosecutors’ offices are hosting a combined Candlelight Vigil and Memorial Walk in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Month Wednesday, Aug. 17, at 6 p.m. at James J. Braddock Park, Bruins Stadium, in North Bergen.

The event is being organized in conjunction with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office’s Operation Helping Hand in an effort to educate the public about the opioid epidemic, offer addiction and recovery resources and help end the stigma associated with overdose deaths.

The event begins with a speaking program by members of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, New Pathway, RWJ Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery and others.

A candlelight vigil, moment of silence and memorial walk follows.

“Substance abuse does not discriminate and the opioid epidemic continues to devastatingly impact countless individuals and families across the country,” Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said. “We, as law enforcement, have the opportunity to bridge the gap that far too often deters those who may be struggling with addiction from receiving the treatment they need. Our office is proud to sponsor this event to help spread awareness, remember those whom we have lost and help end the stigma surrounding addiction and substance related deaths.”

Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. Addiction and overdose not only impacts the user, but families and loved ones as well. The Hudson and Bergen prosecutors say they are committed to partnerships with local advocacy and resource groups to ensure anyone impacted by overdose or addiction has access to lifesaving tools and programs.

Attendees are encouraged to speak with the more than one dozen community groups that will have resource material available at the end of the vigil.

“As the number of overdoses in Bergen County has continued to rise, we have adopted new strategies to keep our residents safe, including connecting those struggling with addiction to treatment, prioritizing prevention and raising awareness of the dangers of opioids as well as the resources available to help,” Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said. “We’re honored to join with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office and our community partners for this important awareness event, and we look forward to sharing the resources and programs that are available to break the cycle of addiction.”

Representatives from the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Department of Family Services, Department of Housing and Community Reintegration, Cura Inc., New Pathways, RWJ Peer Recovery, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Jersey City Police Department, the Fairview Police Department, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, Forge Health, Integrity Hous, and Partners in Prevention are all expected to attend.

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