New Jersey Human Services to Host Virtual Two-Day Opioid Summit This Week Featuring Actress & Activist Marlee Matlin

Academy Award-winning Actress to Address Her Journey to Recovery


Sept. 20, 2021


(TRENTON)The Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services will host a two-day virtual summit on combating the opioid epidemic on Tuesday and Wednesday, featuring a keynote address by Academy Award-winning actress and deaf activist Marlee Matlin on her journey to recovery.

The summit will begin at 9 a.m. each day. Keynote addresses and panel discussions will livestream on Human Services’ Facebook page.

Matlin chronicled her recovery from addiction in her memoir I’ll Scream Later. She is scheduled to speak at 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

The Wednesday, Sept. 22 keynote speaker will be Dr. Wilson Compton, deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, also at 9:15 a.m.

The summit’s theme is “Medication for Opioid Use Disorder: Increasing Access and Saving Lives.”

The summit will also feature panel discussions and workshop presentations by state officials, professional counselors, social workers, criminal justice professionals, physicians and nurses.

“The Summit’s focus is on research and promising practices as we continue working to increase access to medication for opioid use disorder,” Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman said. “We look forward to hearing from our keynote speakers and to garnering key input from so many of the amazing people who have been working in various ways to quell the scourge of opioids and save lives. The only way we end this epidemic is by working together with a single goal – saving lives.”

“It’s important to hear thoughts and ideas from as many people as possible as we continue our efforts to end this epidemic that has gone on for too long and caused so much loss and pain,” said Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke, who directs the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “This will be a valuable two-day session that will surely help bolster our efforts to increase access to medication that helps with opioid use disorder and save lives.”

Acting Commissioner Adelman noted the Murphy Administration has remained focused on supporting individuals in their recovery with a comprehensive, wide-ranging strategy built around increasing access to treatment and prevention programs throughout New Jersey.

“We’re committed to saving lives by reaching those in need, removing barriers to treatment, expanding access to vital medication-assisted treatment and distributing life-saving naloxone across our state,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “I also, as always, continue to urge anyone needing help to call 1-844-ReachNJ. Treatment works. Recovery is attainable.”