New Jersey Schools Require Opioid Seminar for Graduation Tickets

Middlesex County, New Jersey

A school district in New Jersey is requiring that parents attend a mandatory opioid seminar in order to receive tickets to an eighth grade graduation ceremony.

David Cittadino, a school district superintendent in Middlesex County, New Jersey, made the decision after the parent of a first grade student died of an opioid overdose on Monday, March 19. Cittadino decided that drastic measures were necessary in order to combat the opioid crisis, and as such, has instituted the requirement that at least one family member attend an hour long opioid seminar in April if they wish to obtain tickets for the eighth-grade graduation ceremony.

While Cittadino’s plan to institute the mandatory opioid seminar is supported by others in the school administration, including approval by the local presidents of the Middle School PTA, some parents object to the compulsory seminars, citing schedule conflicts caused by work or other responsibilities. However, Cittadino states that while he has hosted similar seminars in the past, leaving the sessions voluntary resulted in low parent turnout.

The seminar is entitled “Hidden in Plain Sight” and will be conducted by a former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) official. There will be three separate sessions provided, ensuring multiple opportunities for family members to attend a session before the graduation ceremony. The seminar is geared toward educating people in the community about the signs and symptoms of opioid abuse, with the hope that as many people as possible can be provided access to the addiction recovery treatment they deserve.

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As the superintendent for Old Bridge Township Public Schools, Cittadino says he has seen too many fatalities caused by the opioid crisis. Despite protestations from some parents, he says that the mandatory opioid educational sessions are necessary. By providing information to those in the community about the consequences of opioid abuse and offering insight into how addiction recovery treatment can be obtained, the required informational sessions will hopefully help this New Jersey community combat the opioid crisis.