ISSUE | DRUG ABUSE

A helping hand

Concerning the suspected heroin overdose of John Decker, I can attest as a social-service provider to the fact that opiate abuse has hit our cities and suburbs ("Life of promise lost to addiction," Sunday). Heroin found in our region is at its purest levels, making it tremendously dangerous. The young are particularly at risk of overdose.

Organizations such as the Samost Jewish Family and Children's Service of Southern New Jersey (JFCS) are taking the lead by educating young adults and their parents. Last year, we developed "Right in Our Backyard," an interactive panel presentation for parents and tweens/teens that features parents who have lost a child to overdose, law enforcement officials, an addictions expert, and a young adult in recovery. The panel discusses warning signs, strategies to avoid the problem, and options for help.

JFCS is here to help, offering the program at no charge to local groups, schools, youth organizations, synagogues, and churches. If you would like to schedule a presentation of "Right in Our Backyard," please contact me. Together, we can bring education to the forefront and save lives.

|Marla Meyers, executive director, Samost Jewish Family and Children's Service of Southern New Jersey , Cherry Hill, mmeyers@jfedsnj.org