HEROIN/OPIATE PANEL DISCUSSION

Washington Court Hotel, Washington, DC

February 7, 2017

HOSTED BY: The NNOAC Foundation, Brooks Bawden, LLC,

Highland Pharmaceuticals, and Thermo Fischer Scientific

The Speakers included Ron Brooks (moderator), of Brooks Bawden, LLC; Doctor Robert DuPont, nationally recognized leader in drug abuse prevention and treatment; Colonel Joseph R. Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police; and Ginger Katz, nationally known speaker, author and founder of The Courage to Speak Foundation.

The Speakers discussed law enforcement efforts, the impact of heroin/opiate abuse on families and the community, legislative and policy initiatives and science as it applies to opioid abuse and addiction.  The panelists focused on how the recent opiate/heroin epidemic has evolved in our country and especially how the problem of overdose deaths has been impacted by Fentanyl and Carfentanil.   

Some of the discussion points addressed by the panelists included: What law enforcement is doing to address this problem and to prevent overdose deaths, how medical and social issues have contributed to this epidemic, and,  the role synthetic opiates are having in the increases in addiction, overdoses and the elevation of this problem to epidemic proportions.

Ginger Katz discussed the personal loss of her son, Ian, to an opiate overdose and how he progressed to that point from first using marijuana.  She discussed what she and her organization is doing to prevent drug abuse in communities.  Ron Brooks discussed some potential legislative initiatives and current policy discussions regarding efforts to address the heroin/opioid problem.

The Panel  Discussion was attended by NNOAC Members, criminal justice professionals and Legislative Staff Members from Capitol Hill.   

SPEAKERS’ BIOS: 

Ron Brooks is a co-founder and Principal at Brooks Bawden, LLC.  He is a thirty-eight-year law enforcement veteran with executive, management, investigative, and criminal intelligence expertise.  As a law enforcement and homeland security policy leader, he has guided national efforts to coordinate policy development on criminal intelligence and information sharing, investigative technology, and drug enforcement. Brooks is the recipient of many law enforcement awards, including: the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal (The highest Intelligence Community award for a non-IC member); the National Fusion Center Association’s State and Major Fusion Center Representative of the Year Award – 2012; the Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Units (LEIU) Distinguished Service Award; the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Leadership Award; the California National Guard Legion of Merit Medal; the California Narcotic Officers’ Association’s John F. Kerrigan President’s Award  (two awards – 1997 and 2013); the California Attorney General’s Award for Excellence; the California National Guard’s Medal of Merit; the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Distinguished Service Medal; and the Redwood City Police Department’s Medal of Valor.

Dr. Robert DuPont has been a leader in drug abuse prevention and treatment for more than 40 years. He was the first Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (1973-78) and the second White House Drug Chief (1973-77). From 1968-70, he was Director of Community Services for the District of Columbia Department of Corrections. From 1970-73, he served as Administrator of the District of Columbia Narcotics Treatment Administration. In 1978 he became the founding President of the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc., a non-profit organization that identifies and promotes new ideas to reduce illegal drug use. A graduate of Emory University, Dr. DuPont received his MD degree from the Harvard Medical School and completed his psychiatric training at Harvard and the National Institutes of Health. He has been Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine since 1980. He maintains an active practice of psychiatry specializing in addiction and the anxiety disorders.

Col. Joseph R. Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. Superintendent Fuentes enlisted in the State Police in January 1978, as a member of the 93A Class. He has served the Division of State Police throughout the state, including assignments as a general road duty Trooper in Central and Southern New Jersey and as an instructor at the Sea Girt Academy. He also was a supervisor with the FBI/NJSP Joint Terrorism Task Force, Narcotics Units, and the Street Gang Unit. Prior to being named Acting Superintendent, he was assigned as the Chief of the Intelligence Bureau, overseeing nine units within the Intelligence Section.

Ginger Katz founded The Courage to Speak Foundation, Inc., shortly after her son Ian’s death. Along with her husband Larry, she presents to children, parents, educators, clergy, professionals, and others at many forums, including state and national conferences. With a team of experts, the organization developed a drug prevention education curriculum which has been evaluated and recommended by Yale School of Medicine.  Many facilitators and teachers across the country implement the Courage to Speak Foundation student curriculum in elementary, middle, and high schools. In addition, there is a multi-session program for parents called Courage to Speak – Courageous Parenting 101®, which gives parents tools to keep their children safe.