For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 10, 2020

City Will Use Grant to Establish Overdose Fatality Review Team to Analyze Overdose Patterns to Better Inform Preventive and Recovery Initiatives

Atlantic City, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and the City of Atlantic City today announce that the City’s Department of Health & Human Services received a $100,000 grant from the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) to help study patterns of drug overdose deaths in Atlantic City and the larger region to better inform preventive and drug recovery initiatives.

The City’s health department will utilize the grant to create an Overdose Fatality Review Team that will analyze and better understand the circumstances surrounding fatal overdoses. The team will be multidisciplinary and include officials from across Atlantic County in order to identify regional trends and evaluate strategies to decrease overdose deaths.

“This grant award is great news and will go a long way in helping local health officials in Atlantic City and Atlantic County find innovative ways to address the opioid epidemic and prevent future overdoses,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “For Atlantic City to truly recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession, it must tackle its longstanding health challenges. One such challenge is substance abuse.”

The Atlantic City Transition Report issued in September 2018 listed substance abuse, specifically the opioid crisis, as a significant public health challenge and recommended the creation of a cross-jurisdictional team of state, county, city and AtlantiCare officials with a particular focus on opioid addiction.

“Speaking on behalf of the City and our health department team, we appreciate receiving this grant and look forward to helping lead the effort to combat drug addiction and overdose deaths in our region,” said Mayor Marty Small Sr. “While much of government’s focus this year has rightfully been on the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid epidemic has continued to negatively impact people’s lives. We worry that the social isolation, job loss, and mental health challenges stemming from COVID-19 might lead to more overdoses, which is why the public health work made possible with this grant is so important.” 

The grant award will be effective for the period of October 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021. The funding is being made available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Overdose Data to Action Grant, for which NJDOH is a recipient.

The Overdose Fatality Review Team will:

  • Conduct multi-agency/multidisciplinary reviews of all available information on an individual who dies from an overdose;
  • Promote cooperation and coordination across agencies involved in overdose investigations;
  • Establish policies and procedures for pooling all available information on overdose deaths from local, county, and state government agencies, law enforcement, private entities that maintain privacy and confidentiality and comply with all applicable state and federal privacy and confidentiality legal requirements;
  • Identify points of contact between deceased individuals and healthcare, social services, criminal justice and other systems involved;
  • Identify the risk factors that put individuals at risk for drug overdose within their jurisdiction; and
  • Recommend how to improve local partnerships, policies and practices to prevent overdose deaths.

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Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
Lisa Ryan
(609) 292-6055

Atlantic City:
Office of the Mayor
(609) 347-5400