N.J. Nurses Co-Host Opioid Addiction Forum

 In News

Panel Discussion Examines State’s Health Crisis on April 21 at Rutgers Labor Center

TRENTON, N.J.—April 10, 2017—As its members continue to battle the growing health crisis, New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA) announced today that it will co-sponsor a panel discussion on opioid addiction April 21 at the Rutgers Labor Center Auditorium.

“Addiction has been around for centuries and when I was a young nurse, we took care of alcoholics,” said Benjamin Evans, DD, DNP, RN, APN, PHMCNS-BC, NJSNA president, who will be on the panel. “Now the face of addiction has changed to heroin, crack, cocaine, methamphetamine and opioids. The problem has crept into every corner of our neighborhoods. As health care professionals, we need to be community leaders in finding an answer that addresses the problem, but still give legitimate patients access to the treatments they need.”

JNESO District Council 1 also will co-sponsor the event, “Addiction: NJ Nurses on the Front Line,” which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon at 50 Labor Center Way in New Brunswick. There is no cost to attend, although online pre-registration is required at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/addiction-nj-nurses-on-the-front-line-tickets-32660453295.

“Nurses have served on the front line of fighting addiction both in New Jersey and across the country,” said Elfrieda Johnson, president of JNESO District Council 1, a healthcare union representing more than 5,000 nurses and other healthcare workers. “This forum will present the unique perspective of nurses, and will explore the different facets of how addiction has grown into epidemic proportions, as well as how it is being treated in our state.”

Topics of discussion at the half-day panel include:

  • What is driving the drug and opioid epidemic?
  • Are addicts starting to use younger?
  • Has the face of addiction changed?
  • How has treating addiction changed?
  • What are the barriers to treatment?
  • Legislation
  • Next steps

Jillian Scott, director of NJSNA’s Recovery and Monitoring Program (RAMP) that works with nurses who have addiction issues, will also participate in the panel. RAMP is a confidential, voluntary program that works with the New Jersey Board of Nursing, employers and nurses to ensure public safety, safe practice and health. It is designed to encourage health professionals to seek a recovery program before their impairment harms a patient or damages their careers through disciplinary action.

Other speakers include representatives from Partnership for a Drug Free America, Drug Policy Alliance, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the Carrier Clinic. The discussion will be moderated by Michele Jaker, who is director of government affairs at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.


NJSNA, which was established in 1901, is a constituent member of the American Nurses Association.  The New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA) represents the interests of 125,000 registered nurses and advanced practice nurses as an advocate for the nursing profession. NJSNA’s lobbying arm continues to protect the nursing profession through legislative victories. Its nonprofit foundation, Institute for Nursing, helps nurses further their careers by providing continuing education, scholarships and research grants in addition to invaluable networking opportunities. For more information, nurses can visit www.njsna.org or contact NJSNA at njsna@njsna.org or (609) 883-5335.


JNESO District Council 1 is a healthcare union representing more than 5,000 nurses and other healthcare workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, visit www.JNESO.org.



24/7 Crisis Hotline for Impaired Nurses - 1-800-662-0108