Newswise — Neptune, NJ – August 5, 2014 – Jersey Shore University Medical Center hosted a roundtable discussion on August 4, led by Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, to discuss the continued growth in heroin and prescription drug abuse in the shore community. The forum was held from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Lance Auditorium at Jersey Shore.

Lawmakers and experts from law enforcement, the substance abuse field and the medical community, including Joseph Miller, Ph.D., Corporate Director, Neuroscience, Behavioral Health, Orthopedic Rehabilitation Medicine, Meridian Health and Dr. Ramon Solhkhah, chief of Psychiatry at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, and families affected by drug abuse joined Assemblywoman Angelini to share their views and expertise on this growing problem. According to Dr. Solhkhah, “Heroin and prescription painkiller use and abuse has reached epidemic proportions in Monmouth and Ocean counties. It’s important for our community leaders to address the crisis, and the roundtable led by Assemblywoman Angelini provided an opportunity for leaders and caregivers to discuss solutions. In response to the crisis, Meridian Behavioral Health’s Addiction Recovery Services is offering comprehensive, compassionate care for those in recovery and their families. We’re also providing continued medical education for physicians and caregivers, and supporting the work of our community advisory committee volunteers, who are raising awareness about drug abuse in schools, churches and community centers.”

“Heroin and prescription drug abuse continue to grow at an alarming rate in our area,” says Assemblywoman Angelini. “We need to continue bringing leaders together who can help formulate concrete strategies to address this insidious trend among our young adults.” Angelini was also joined by representatives from the DEA and the Division of Consumer Affairs, as well as medical doctors and state and county officials. “By bringing together these professional experts, our goal for the forum was to develop some recommendations from an advocacy, education and preventative perspective to stem this drug abuse epidemic,” adds Assemblywoman Angelini.

About Jersey Shore University Medical Center:

Jersey Shore University Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health family, is a not-for-profit teaching hospital and home to K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital – the first children’s hospital in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Jersey Shore is the regional provider of cardiac surgery, a program which has been ranked among the best in the Northeast, and is home to the only trauma center and stroke rescue center in the region. Through the hospital’s clinical research program, and its affiliation with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Jersey Shore serves as an academic center dedicated to advancing medical knowledge, training future physicians and providing the community with access to promising medical breakthroughs. For more information about Jersey Shore University Medical Center call 1-800-DOCTORS, or visit