Newswise — The Department of Psychiatry at Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center will present Substance Use Disorders in 2017: Tackling the Opioid Epidemic & More on Wednesday, October 25, from 7:45 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Sheraton Eatontown Hotel. Special guest, The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy, Former Rhode Island Congressman and international advocate for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders will deliver the keynote address.

Substance use disorders are seen in patients throughout Hackensack Meridian Health with prescription drug abuse reaching an epidemic level in the area. The upcoming symposium will guide health professionals by providing current evidence-based approaches for the treatment of substance use disorders, including psychosocial and pharmacologic interventions.

As a result of completing this educational activity, participants will be better able to:

  • Describe risk factors, screening methods, prevention strategies and trends in substance use disorders;
  • Discuss the DSM 5 diagnosis and clinical presentation of substance use disorders;
  • Explain the current status of legalization of marijuana in New Jersey;
  • Identify the unique aspects of substance abuse treatment in an adolescent population;
  • Effectively treat substance use disorders using evidence-based therapeutic and psychopharmacologic interventions;
  • Recognize the diagnostic and treatment concerns specific to patients in the perinatal period.

The October 25 event is part of a substance use disorders lecture series made possible through support from the Christopher Center for Mental Health and Wellness. The Christopher Center will be located in the new HOPE Tower upon its opening in early 2018, and will provide for the coordination of a broad range of primary care, mental health, and substance use disorders services at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. The center will be complemented by an educational series to culminate each year with a symposium dedicated to continuing education and networking in the study and care of patients fighting addictions.

The Christopher Center for Mental Health & Wellness and our 2017 Substance Use Disorders Educational Series is made possible by a generous donation from Phil and Marilyn Perricone. Their gift was made in honor and memory of their son Christopher.

“Anyone who has lost someone to addiction knows how truly horrific it is,” explains Phil Perricone, who also serves as a trustee on the Jersey Shore University Medical Center Foundation Board. “We are hopeful that the Christopher Center for Mental Health and Wellness and these important symposiums will give individuals battling addictions a fighting chance. We urge all health professionals to attend and help put an end to this deadly disease.”

Substance Use Disorders in 2017: Tackling the Opioid Epidemic & More is intended for health professionals and offers continuing medical education for qualifying clinicians. There is no fee to attend however, advanced registration is required. For questions or more information, please contact Kellie Murawski at 732-776-4930 or visit

ABOUT HACKENSACK MERIDIAN HEALTH Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children's hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 120 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The Network's notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America's 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, the number one hospital in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum, a six-time recipient of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For," one of the "20 Best Workplaces in Health Care" in the nation, and the number one "Best Place to Work for Women." Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

The hospitals of Hackensack Meridian Health include: academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children's hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood.

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