Experts discuss solutions and struggles at opioid town hall

NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (WPVI) -- About 200 people gathered Thursday night for a town hall discussion on the opioid crisis, hosted by 6abc and our sister station, WABC in New York.

"What do you do when there is a family intervention plan and the husband is not on the same page as the wife?" asked one audience member.

It was one of the many questions tackled at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. A panel of officials and experts took questions from the audience - many with personal experience with substance use disorders.


"You saw when everybody was asked to raise a hand if they knew anybody who suffered from this illness - a lot of hands went up," said Larry Redmond of Old Bridge, who has been in long-term recovery for decades.

Action News anchor Rick Williams served as a moderator, along with ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

"What we did today was major progress in bringing together people from so many areas of expertise to really do a deep dive on the opioid epidemic and crisis and hear from the community," said Ashton.

One of the topics discussed: how to approach a loved one who is struggling with opioid use.

SEE ALSO: The Opioid Crisis: 6abc Town Hall addresses abuse and addiction

Dr. Fred Muench, president of the Center for Addiction explained, "When someone has a substance use disorder their defenses go up because they think they're going to be judged. So starting that conversation with non-judgment will help that conversation."

The conversation also turned to the future, and what still needs to be done in terms of treatment, stigma and prevention.

"The same resources we pour into one neighborhood, we need to pour into another neighborhood," said Rev. Darrell Armstrong, pastor of Baptist World Alliance Church in Trenton.
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