Virtual Town Hall on Substance Use Disorder Treatment and COVID-19 to Feature N.J. Leaders in Addiction and Behavioral Health

New Jersey’s Leading Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment Experts Come Together to Discuss Challenges and Share Best Practices During COVID-19 and Beyond

Bridgewater, N.J. (September XX, 2020) – On September 29, 2020 at 2 p.m., a free virtual town hall will bring together leaders in behavioral health and addiction treatment services from across the state to discuss the pandemic’s impact on substance use disorder treatment. The event, titled “Substance Use Disorder Treatment in N.J. During COVID-19 and Beyond,” will discuss how treatment providers have adapted inpatient, outpatient and telehealth services in response to the pandemic as well as how to address substance use disorder care moving forward in the new COVID-19 environment.

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New Jersey’s overdose death rate was 17 percent higher in the first half of 2020 compared to the first six months of 2019.These deaths of despair, which have been projected to possibly reach 150,000 nationwide, serve as an undeniable reminder that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, another epidemic rages on – the ongoing, insidious opioid epidemic. When these two epidemics are combined, as they currently are, the results can be particularly devastating.

Award winning healthcare reporter, Lilo Stainton of NJ Spotlight and NJTV News, will moderate the event, which will cover key issues and challenges facing how providers have been and are continuing to deliver substance use disorder care during the pandemic and beyond, including:

  • How providers have transitioned and adapted care during the pandemic

  • The challenges the pandemic has created in treating individuals with SUD

  • How inpatient services were impacted and how outpatient treatment services have evolved during the pandemic

  • How telehealth is being utilized to enhance care and how it has removed some barriers to treatment

  • Changes in MAT services as a result of the pandemic

  • How to combat the increase in overdose deaths

  • Lessons learned from the pandemic and how they will impact and inform care in the future.

The panel of experts will include Kaitlan Baston, MD, MSc, DFASAM Program Director Southern NJ MAT Center of Excellence Division Head, Addiction Medicine Medical Director, Government Relations Cooper University Health Care Assistant Professor of Medicine Cooper Medical School of Rowan University; Robert J. Budsock, President &CEO of Integrity House; Assemblywoman Joann Downey, Chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee and Parliamentarian of the New Jersey General Assembly; Connie Greene, MA, CAS, CSW, CPS, Vice President, RWJBarnabas Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery; Jerry Joseph, MD, VP of Addiction Medicine for CarePlus NJ; and Erin Zerbo, MD, Director of the Northern NJ MAT Center of Excellence; Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

The virtual event is free, but space is limited, and registration is required. Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions in real time during the live event. To register and for more information visit: