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Substance Abuse Summit

Officials say drug use and substance abuse is on the rise, especially because of the pandemic.

During a round table talk, the Office of National Drug Control Policy Director, Jim Carroll met with Congressman John Joyce and other local leaders to address how substance abuse and overdose rates are a critical concern.

“it’s not just an opioid crisis. We have seen a vast increase in the amount of people who are exposed to meth. And we have to recognize that we have to be on guard and address all the levels of addiction,” said Congressman John Joyce.

Officials say they have seen an increase in drug abuse over the past few months, which they’re contributing to feelings of isolation because of the pandemic.

“It’s critical that we continue rebounding the economy back to where it was before COVID. Because one of the things we have seen is with businesses shutting down, people who are in recovery they are turning to despair. It’s lonely. They’re having a hard time accessing care and sadly they’re relapsing,” said Carroll.

Law enforcement, addiction specialist and government leaders spoke about ways to combat this epidemic. Congressman Joyce believes the best approach is all hands-on deck.

“You’ve heard us say how important the ability to work together is because this drug crisis affects every layer of our community. Our children, our neighbors, those we work with. We have to be unified,” said Joyce. “To have the leading drug expert to come to Somerset County and be able to sit down and listen. He clearly stated to use there is not one solution that fits all of us. He has the ability to open doors to discuss the importance of drug courts and ongoing rehabilitation,” he said.

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