PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Officials in South Jersey are implementing a new strategy in the fight against opioid abuse.
Three-years-ago, Monica, Charlene Maycott’s daughter nearly died from a heroin overdose.
“I busted down her door, I got her on the floor, started CPR and used the Narcan,” Maycott said. “After a stroke and a heart attack and multiple organ failure, she’s well, today.”
For the past three years Maycott has fought for and participated in programs to get drugs off the streets, and get help for those addicted to opioids.
“We go to schools and everywhere we can go, to try and teach people,” she said.
Maycott says she welcomes the Drug Enforcement Administration of New Jersey’s announcement of their 360 Strategy program to combat heroin, and prescription opioid abuse.
“I think that’s actually the best way to go,” she said.
The 360 Strategy is a three-pronged approach to fighting opioid abuse by having law enforcement, hospitals, and the community leaders work together by exchanging information, keeping open lines of communication and sharing resources.
“We want to reach out to our educators, to our clergy, to all interested partners, and bring them on board, if everyone shares responsibility in this and the more people we can bring to the table, the better, said DEA Special Agent Valerie Nickerson.
DEA officials say, last year there were enough opioid overdose deaths to fill nearly every seat at Lincoln Financial field. They say one of their goals with this new initiative is to make sure they use all of their possible resources to significantly cut that number.
“Anytime we can get the community and more people involved to fight this epidemic, we’re saving lives,” Nickerson said.
Dr. Jim Baird, the assistant medical director of Jefferson Health-Washington Township’s emergency department, says this partnership is imperative to properly fight the opioid epidemic in South Jersey.
“We have to have this collaboration, so we can continue to do our job and treat people, and they can get the drugs off the street,” he said. “We can work together to get these people who are suffering from addiction the help that they need.”
Maycott says this new program is not just a step, but a leap in the right direction.
“Once everyone works together, and theirs a collaboration, where going to get someone,” she added.
As part of the 360 Strategy the DEA is will be hosting a youth summit for New Jersey students as a way to educate them on drug misuse and abuse.