SEWELL, N.J. — The Southwest Council — a non-profit health agency providing prevention, education, early intervention, and outpatient treatment services to Cumberland, Salem, and Gloucester counties — sponsored the Opioid Prevention Playbook workshop held at Rowan College of South Jersey, Gloucester County campus on Friday, September 27.
The workshop was geared to coaches, trainers, nurses, teachers, and athletic directors to help them detect, understand, and prevent substance abuse in teens.
The Opioid Use Disorder Prevention Playbook is a new program from the National Interoperability Collaborative (NIC) that “addresses policies, approaches, initiatives and ideas that illustrate strategies with the potential to prevent opioid misuse, overuse and use disorders from starting or advancing,” according to the NIC website.
NIC is a “community of networks” that promotes better collaboration in human services, public health, health IT, education, public safety, emergency response, and other domains related to social roots of health and well-being.
Justin Wroblewski of Liberty Wellness was the keynote speaker for the workshop. He was a local youth athlete who found himself addicted to opioids following a sports injury. Now in recovery for more than six years, Wroblewski shared his experiences and insights into prevention and intervention for teen opioid abuse.
Freeholder Jim Jefferson, who gave the welcoming remarks at the workshop, spoke about how young athletes are at risk of addiction after sports related injuries.
“We need to protect our youth athletes who can be at risk of opioid addiction that often begins with a sports related injury,” Freeholder Jefferson said. “This workshop was a great tool to educate our region’s coaches, trainers and all those involved in education and athletics how to see the signs of substance abuse and teach students of the short- and long-term impact of substance abuse.”
The Playbook features 11 strategies — referred to as “plays” — to help prevent the use, abuse, and subsequent addiction of opioids. Those strategies include removing the stigma of addiction so it is seen as a disease and encouraging the use of non-opioid formulations for pain management.
For more information about NIC or the Opioid Use Disorder Prevention Playbook, visit their website at https://nic-us.org/.