Congressman MacArthur, Riverfront Coalition, Local Officials and Advocates Praise Federal Grant for South Jersey to Combat Opioid Crisis
Burlington, New Jersey- Congressman Tom MacArthur held a press conference today to discuss a grant awarded to the Riverfront Coalition to assist with their efforts to combat the opioid crisis. The Riverfront Coalition was awarded $125,000 through the Drug-Free Communities Support Program.
The Riverfront Coalition is made up of twelve members from various local organizations that work to combat the opioid epidemic and educate teenagers about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.
Speakers at the press conference included: Congressman Tom MacArthur, Burlington Mayor Barry Conaway, City of Burlington Police Chief Alan Snow, EMS Chief of Endeavor Emergency Squad Dave Ekelburg, and Joe Conlin, member of the Riverfront Coalition and Coordinator of the Burlington County Coalition for Healthy Communities at Prevention Plus.
“This is an important day for South Jersey’s fight against the opioid crisis. From small rural towns to big cities and suburbs, from well-to-do households to middle class America, heroin and fentanyl have altered our neighborhoods and left death and destruction in their path. The opioid epidemic is bigger than one of us, but today is proof that together, we can make real positive change in our community,” said Congressman MacArthur. “As co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, I led a bipartisan effort, against the wishes of leaders in my own party, to protect the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s funding so grants like these are available to organizations dedicated to fighting the opioid crisis. This new money will allow the Riverfront Coalition to increase their outreach in the community and impact more positive change on the young adults they encounter with their programs .”
“While the primary focus of this DFC grant is youth use of alcohol and marijuana, we know that these drugs are a gateway to using opioids and heroin later in life,” said Joe Conlin, member of the Riverfront Coalition. “There is an alarming rate of 18-24 year olds in our county who have started with these substances and ended up using opioids. We are hoping to educate the youth of Burlington City with programs focused on early prevention and awareness.”
The DFC Support Program is designed with the belief that local problems need local solutions by leveraging local, community centered resources. Money allocated through this program will be dedicated to data-driven efforts to address this complex social issue. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which oversees DFC Support Program, was slated to be defunded under the President’s budget. As co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force in Congress, Congressman MacArthur led a bipartisan group of members who successfully fought the President to keep the ONDCP and its related programs funded.