Republican Shore Congressman Tom MacArthur (NJ- 3rd District) who also co-chairs the Bi-Partisan Heroin Task Force in Washington continues seeking ways to curb New Jersey's and the United States' opioid and heroin epidemic.

Locking up the harden criminal-dealers and finding treatment for those seeking recovery from the throngs of addiction is at the top of the list for the task force's mission.

On Tuesday in Washington D.C. MacArthur and the Task Force he co-chairs with New Hampshire's 2nd District Congresswoman Annie Kuster hosted another round-table discussion where they were joined by Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, M.P.H, of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), John Brogan, Chief Recovery Specialist from Ocean County and Chief Brian Rhodes of the Nashua (NH) Fire and Rescue Department.

Director Jones gave his take on the national state of the opioid crisis and the federal response.

Brogan and Chief Rhodes discussed some innovative programs they've led in their communities, which have helped connect people in need of treatment receive the aid.

Ocean County is sadly considered to be the epicenter of a major drug problem in the Garden State and was recently designated as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) after collaborative efforts by U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Congressman MacArthur and County Prosecutor, Joseph Coronato.

John Brogan, who is a veteran in long-term recovery, has made it his life’s mission to help those struggling with addiction.

He was in Washington to discuss treatment ongoing efforts in Ocean County.

“Our nation needs to take a comprehensive approach to treating addiction, which impacts the mind, body, and soul,” Brogan said. “The work of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force in Congress is crucial to bring people together to develop comprehensive solutions that will help us treat this disease. Thanks to Congressman MacArthur and Congresswoman Kuster, for inviting me to discuss the successful treatment efforts we are seeing on the ground in Ocean County.”

“We are losing 174 Americans every day to the opioid crisis,” Congressman MacArthur said. “They aren’t just numbers. These are people whose lives were stolen from them and cut short. They were someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister, soulmate or friend. If we lost 174 people from a plane crash two days in a row, we would ground every plane and do whatever is necessary to keep people safe. We need that intensity of effort to overcome this crisis. It may be bigger than any of us, but it isn’t bigger than all of us together.”

“South Jersey has been hit particularly hard and I’m grateful for the commitment of our first responders, recovery specialists and healthcare community,” MacArthur continued.  “The Bipartisan Heroin Task Force has made progress and we will stand with our local communities in providing the resources and initiatives to help us overcome this together.”

Congressman Tom MacArthur, Nicole Brogan, and John Brogan at the Capitol after the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force roundtable discussion. (Congressman Tom MacArthur's Office)

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