Battling the Opioid Epidemic One Town at a Time

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Jody D'Agostini, Founder and Board Chair of Community in Crisis, which focuses on stopping the opioid epidemic one town at a time.

8/27/18 #2159






"We are pleased to welcome Jody D'Agostini, who is Founder and Board Chair of an organization called Community in Crisis. Jody, good to see you. Thank you for having me. You've been involved... created and been involved in an incredible organization making a difference, dealing with the opioid crisis in our area and our nation, but you have a very personal connection to this as to why even started it. Talk about it. Back in December of 2013? Yeah. I got a very tearful call from my daughter who was at college at the time, was a nursing student, and was in the hospital, so she really wasn't piping up her social media. Friday night, called me with one of those phone calls that you know something's terribly wrong. Can't catch her breath. And tells me that two of her friends have overdosed. One on Wednesday, one on Friday. Through her tears, trying to calm her down, she said, "Mom, how many more are we gonna lose before someone does something about it?" Those words stuck with me. I'm a very spiritual person. I prayed on it that night. And I thought she was right. You know, she's right. Why are we gonna watch kids die? And at that point, we really didn't understand this epidemic like we do today. This was four and a half years ago, but I could count 19 people that I knew that were going in and out of recovery... friends of mine's children, I was fortunate enough to be in a place where I could make a difference. I was chair of the board of the Somerset Hills YMCA at that point, I called the head of the Y on Saturday morning, and I said, "David we're about healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. This is in our sweet spot. I can't tell you what's going on, but something's going on. Can we study it and work on it?" So we were able to launch our Community in Crisis through the Y system, and get... study it, meet with addiction counselors, and create an evidence-based model, to be able to combat this disease, that's, you know, plaguing our nation and New Jersey at 20 percent higher than the national average. Jody, break it down. How exactly do you help people who are struggling? Well, right now we've broken it down into prevention and education on the front end, so we want to, you know, stop more people from going into the queue and getting addicted. Because once you're addicted, it can change brain chemistry. It's a disease. It's very difficult to give up. It's not a choice at that point. So we want to stop more people through education and prevention on the front end..."