As part of Aetna’s commitment to collaborating on the local level to help fight the opioid epidemic, Aetna participated in the Milken Institute Opioid Crisis Prevention Collaboration in Newark, NJ on August 30.
The meeting convened stakeholders in a dynamic discussion from across New Jersey and beyond, including those from healthcare, education, prevention coalitions, youth groups, government, nonprofit organizations and others to share best practices and expertise to address the epidemic. Aetna participants were present during the meeting, including Aetna’s Chief Medical Officer of Behavioral Health Dr. Mark Friedlander, M.D., M.B.A.
Essex County – which Newark is a part of – leads the state of New Jersey in the number of drug-related overdose deaths, with 156 so far in 2018 and more than 1,200 statewide, according to the NJ Attorney General’s office.
The invite-only meeting was the first large-scale setting for the region on opioids, which brought together the key stakeholders to begin to plan on making a difference for Newark and the region. The meeting looked to heighten awareness and foster cross-entity planning on the current epidemic.
“We stand ready to help communities of all sizes – given the breadth of the opioid dependence issues that we’ve seen across the country,” Friedlander said. “Our levels of expertise can help communities think differently and act swiftly when it comes to the current epidemic and Newark is no exception.
City of Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and the Drug Enforcement Administration were also present during the meeting. In addition to special presentations and work groups, the meeting featured information from nonprofits and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Aetna is committed to confronting the unprecedented opioid crisis both through business practices and strategic philanthropic giving initiatives – tackling the issue by collaborating with local communities and making focused interventions to members and provider partners.