By Melisa Damcevska, Preventionist
Caption: Old Bridge Superintend of Schools David Cittadino presents Jenna Bonstein with a Certificate of Appreciation for her work in the community
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 115 people die every day in the United States after overdosing on opioids, from prescription pain relievers to heroin to more powerful synthetic opioids such as fentanyl (NIDA 2018). 115 people every day dying from a cause that is 100% preventable if prevention and education begins early enough.
That is where Jenna Bonstein comes in.
A Preventionist at Wellspring Center for Prevention and a peer recovery coach at Woodbridge Addiction Recovery Mentorship Program. Jenna, a life-long Old Bridge resident, has seen both ends of the addiction continuum from early prevention all the way into maintaining recovery.
Jenna has been an incredible advocate for opioid overdose prevention by sharing her own story of addiction with over 800 parents who attended the superintendent’s mandatory Hidden in Plain Sight 8th Grade Awareness Sessions. Jenna represents courage, strength and a commitment to fighting substance abuse in her community.
By speaking with parents of 8th grade students before the students enter high school, a difficult transition period and a prime time for experimentation to begin, Jenna played an important role in educating parents, caregivers and the general community. Advocacy, education and addressing the opioid problem and substance abuse before it begins is a key way in which to stop the epidemic before it even begins.