The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office is hosting a drug prevention forum that they're hoping will eclipse all others.

Can We Talk Forum Flier
Can We Talk Forum Flier (Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Web Site)

Officials say the event, scheduled for Tuesday, May 27th at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River, will be one of their biggest and most ambitious because more components have been added as a result of wide spread community interest and participation.

The "Can We Talk ... Are You Listening" event is aimed at helping Ocean County's parents, guardians and students understand the local drug problem, understand the signs, symptoms and consequences of drug use and abuse and to teach adults how to create an open dialogue with children about drug abuse, according to the event's flier.

It will feature a line up of speakers, skits by high school drama teams and a performance from Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame guitarist Richie Sambora.

"He's going to bring the village so that the message can be delivered and he also hopes that his music will inspire them, give them hope and make them believe that this fight in fact will be won," Juvenile Justice Agent Michael Colwell explained.

Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Pierro said that Sambora is completely invested in efforts to combat the county's drug overdose epidemic.

"He has been 100 percent on board. He has helped come up with the agenda. He has written a song special for this event. It will be the first time it's performed and we are just so excited about his involvement in this," Pierro said.

However, it's not just Sambora who's listening, Pierro said it's a much bigger event this year because officials through out the county, as well as school administrators, are pitching in.

A year after Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato declared war on the drug overdose epidemic and launched a multi-pronged plan to attack it, officials said the efforts are working.

"We've introduced the Narcan program with Prosecutor Coronato's leadership, to this point in time we've had sixteen reversals, our overdose numbers are down and we hope that part of that is because people are listening, people are invested," Pierro said.

The efforts have also included unannounced k-9 searches of local schools, the production at hard hitting videos with local student actors and law enforcers, a crack down on drug dealers, as well as the vigorous pursuit of dealers that sold drugs that resulted in an overdose death.

Thousands are expected at the Pine Belt Arena on Tuesday, May 27th for the forum that will run from 5 to 9 p.m. So registration is required for admission.

Register at the Institute For Prevention web site by clicking here or call (732) 886-4757


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