Press Release

Save the Date: April 5th Forum on Bringing Overdose Prevention Centers to New Jersey

Over 300 Attendees Scheduled to Hear from Public Health Officials, Researchers, Legal Experts and Community Leaders Sharing Innovations in Overdose Prevention

Panelists Include Assemblywoman Valerie Vanieri Huttle and Russell Maynard of Vancouver’s Insite

Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243

Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death nationally and in New Jersey, with more than 3,000 New Jersey residents dying from overdose each year. DPA’s New Jersey office will be launching a campaign in support of legislation (Senate Bill 3293 / Assembly Bill 4638) to establish overdose prevention centers (also known as supervised consumption spaces) in response to the devastating loss of life.

Overdose prevention centers are locations where people can legally consume previously-purchased drugs under the supervision of trained staff. The staff are able to provide immediate assistance in the case of an overdose and connect people to drug treatment, medical care, social services and harm reduction services. Fear of arrest and prosecution, as well as the stigma attached to drug use, force people to hide their drug use or use drugs in unsafe conditions.  If these barriers were removed, countless lives could be saved.

Next month’s forum, co-organized by the Drug Policy Alliance and The College of New Jersey, will feature an expert panel of public health officials, researchers, legal experts, and community leaders on innovations in overdose prevention. Speakers will include: 

  • Asw. Valerie Vanieri Huttle, Deputy Speaker, New Jersey Legislature
  • Roseanne Scotti, Esq., State Director, New Jersey, Drug Policy Alliance 
  • Sandy Gibson, PhD, Professor, The College of New Jersey 
  • Rachael Evans, MD, Henry J. Austin Health Center, Trenton, NJ 
  • Kassandra Frederique, MSW, State Director, New York, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Rev. Dr. Leslie Harrison, Bethel AME Church, Moorestown, NJ
  • Jill Anne LaZare, Esq., Parent advocate & New Jersey resident
  • Russell Maynard, Insite Director, PHS Community Services Society, Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Devin Reaves, MSW, Certified Recovery Specialist & New Jersey resident
  • Sheila P. Vakharia, PhD, Policy Manager, Office of Academic Engagement, Drug Policy Alliance
  • Jeanette Bowles, DrPH, MSW, Director of Research and Community Engagement, Safehouse, Philadelphia, PA

When: Friday, April 5th, 10:00 am-1:00 pm. Registration opens at 9:30 am.

Where: The College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ, in the Brower Student Center #100

Admission, lunch and CEUs are free, but space is limited, so please RSVP to reserve your spot.

Over 100 evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies have consistently proven the positive impacts of supervised consumption services, including increased use of drug treatment, improved public safety, reduction in HIV and hepatitis C risks, and increased use of medical and social services.  Moreover, no one has ever died of an overdose at one of these centers.

For more background on the Drug Policy Alliance’s work in New Jersey to advance drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, visit

Drug Overdose
Supervised Consumption Services
New Jersey