Let's Talk: A Prescription for Families

May 2, 2014
As heroin use continues to increase rapidly, particularly among young people, one gateway to the powerful street drug is disturbingly close at hand: the family medicine cabinet.

Potent painkillers prescribed to parents and grandparents are often left within reach of teens, and abuse of the opium-derived medications can lead to use of street drugs such as heroin that have a similar chemical composition.

Prescription drug abuse itself is an epidemic among young people, with 1 in 4 teens admitting in a 2012 study that they had abused prescription medications.

To help educate families about the issue, Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS) will host a forum on Thursday, May 15, titled Let's Talk: A Prescription for Families. The discussion will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Education Center at University Medical Center of Princeton (UMCP), 1 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro.

The free event is presented by two PHCS units—Princeton House Behavioral Health and PHCS Community Education & Outreach—in collaboration with the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County and the Middlesex County Coalition for Healthy Communities.

Teens, along with their parents or guardians and other family members, are welcome to attend the event. It will focus on the drug epidemic in Mercer and Middlesex counties, the warning signs of substance abuse, how to communicate as a family and the community resources that are available.

Two local teens will share their personal stories. Expert speakers will include:
  • Richard Wohl, MSW, MBA, President, Princeton House Behavioral Health
  • Craig A. Gronczewski, MD, Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine, UMCP
  • Neal B. Schofield, MD, Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Princeton House
  • Joseph L. Bocchini Jr., Mercer County Prosecutor
  • Barbara Sprechman BA, CPS, Coordinator, Prevention Coalition of Mercer County
  • Linda Surks, BS, CPS, Coordinator, Middlesex County Coalition for Healthy Communities
  • Roswell Perez, MPA, MA, SAC, East Windsor Regional School District
Those who attend may sign up for community-wide teen service projects and bring unused or expired prescription medications for proper disposal through the Prescription Drop Off program, courtesy of the Plainsboro Police Department. Attendees also will be able to enter to win prizes such as iPads and prescription drug lockboxes.

To register for the event, please visit or call 1-888-897-8979. Registration is recommended but not required. Those who register will be entered for a chance to win a $100 gift card.

Let's Talk is the latest in a series of community events hosted by PHCS as part of the Community Alliance for Medication Safety, or CAMS.

Funded in part by a grant from the American Medical Association Foundation, the CAMS program was initiated in 2012 after a community needs assessment conducted by PHCS identified prescription drug abuse as a priority concern for the Mercer and Middlesex county area.

About Princeton HealthCare System
Princeton HealthCare System is a comprehensive, integrated healthcare system that strives to anticipate and serve the lifelong needs of central New Jersey residents, including acute care hospital services through University Medical Center of Princeton, behavioral healthcare through Princeton House Behavioral Health, rehabilitation, home care, hospice care, ambulatory surgery, a primary and specialty medical practice, and fitness and wellness services. For more information, visit

Andy Williams, 609-252-8785