The addiction to and misuse of opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a national epidemic that continues to take the lives of tens of thousands of Americans each year.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 130 people die every day in the United States after overdosing on opioids.
In 2017, a total of 70,237 deaths were caused by drug overdoses in the United States, of which 47,600 (or 67.8%) involved opioids.
Tragedy Inspires Father To Take Action
On December 19th, 2012, Gregg Wolfe lost his son, Justin Matthew Wolfe, whose life was tragically cut short after a heroin overdose.
This tragedy inspired Gregg to become an active community leader dedicated to erasing the drug addiction epidemic in South Jersey through awareness, education and prevention.
In addition to working in our local communities, Gregg advocates for legislative reform aimed at addressing the heroin and opioid epidemic, as well as the fentynal crisis, throughout the United States.
You can watch his testimony regarding HIPAA law reform before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations here.
Every year Gregg hosts the Justin Wolfe Memorial Benefit to honor the memory of his son Justin Wolfe, as well as raise funds for addiction awareness, education and prevention programs.
Gregg personally underwrites the benefit each year so that every dollar of the proceeds go directly to supporting important programs in our communities.
Proceeds from the annual benefit help to support two important programs by the Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern New Jersey (JFCS):
- Right In Our Backyard: An addiction awareness program for suburban teens and their parents
- Families In It Together: A support group for families of loved ones struggling with substance abuse
This year’s benefit will be held on Sunday, June 2nd, at the Adelphia Restaurant in Deptford, NJ from 5pm to 9pm.
Gregg’s work continues to make a significant impact in the fight against drug addiction by bringing needed awareness and education to our local communities.
Right In Our Backyard Program
In 2014 JFCS launched ‘Right In Our Backyard,’ which is an awareness and prevention program focused on the opiate epidemic.
Right In Our Backyard was inspired by the awareness efforts of JFCS and Camden County which began in 2013, and the County has been a terrific partner along with the Cherry Hill Police Department.
The program, which is sponsored by Gregg Wolfe and the Camden County Board of Freeholders Division of Health and Human Services, has now educated over 3500 individuals through 36 presentations (and counting).
The two-hour presentation is offered by a group of five panelists, which include an addictions specialist, parents who lost their children to opiate/heroin addiction, a young adult in recovery and a member of law enforcement.
The program is saving lives by shining a light on the prevalence of the addiction issue, encouraging discussion, sharing warning signs and offering safe and accessible ways to seek guidance and help.
Families In It Together Support Group
Families In It Together is another important initiative sponsored by Gregg Wolfe, that is aimed at addressing the widely expressed need for family members of those who struggle with addiction.
Addiction affects the individual but also impacts the entire family. Through the facilitation of a support group led by a Licensed Clinician Social Worker with significant experience in the field of addictions, JFCS’s goal is to further educate families in the disease of addiction and foster a community of support and safety.
The group is a six week series that will be run multiple times throughout the year allowing for new participants to join regularly. The hope is that the group will offer camaraderie to participants and will make a difference within their family system.
How You Can Get Involved
Fighting the opioid epidemic in America requires all of us to come together and work harder than ever before in order to finally eradicate this destructive force from our society.
This starts at the local level by actively supporting the programs and initiatives that make it possible to bring the needed awareness and education to our communities.
Whether volunteering time, helping to get the message out, or making a donation, your efforts can make a direct impact that helps save lives in your local community.
It is also important to keep in mind the fact that every effort makes a difference when it comes to fighting the opioid epidemic, and that no action or contribution is too small.
If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction please email Gregg Wolfe at [email protected].