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Sheriff Coppinger Speaks at Police Executive Research Forum

Sheriff Coppinger spoke at the PERF in Washington D.C.

Sheriff Kevin Coppinger was invited to speak at a Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) conference in Washington D.C. to discuss how law enforcement agencies and their partners are addressing the challenges of opioids and the growing dangers of fentanyl.

The Essex County Sheriff’s Office is viewed as a national role model in medication assisted treatment in corrections for people dealing with substance use disorder. Sheriff Coppinger spoke of how the office has built clinics within their facilities that mirror the services offered in community-based clinics which offer medication assisted treatment, counseling, referrals to long-term, community-based treatment facilities, sober housing, and a number of other supports.

This conference brought together experts from around the country to examine what is promising and working and what isn’t in the battle against opioids.

In 2013, when PERF held its first meeting addressing the issue of drugs, there were 43,982 drug-related fatalities in the U.S., according to the Department of Vital Statistics. In 2023, according to estimates released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug-related fatalities in the U.S. topped 112,000. The opioid epidemic has shown no sign of abating and the introduction of fentanyl into this landscape has made a terrible problem even worse. Current trends indicate that between two and three times as many people will die in drug-related incidents in 2024 than will be murdered or perish in car crashes.

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