The attention will be squarely on Ocean County's heroin epidemic this Thursday when the Prosecutor's Office and the DART Coalition join forces to give parents and teens a sobering lesson.

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There have been 90 overdose deaths in Ocean County so far this year, more than double the number of people who died from drug overdoses during all of 2012, says Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Pierro. He says the situation is critical and can't be ignored.

The "Can We Talk" forum is aimed at spreading awareness and educating parents and teens on the dangers of illegal drugs. Pierro says the audience will hear a candid story from a mother and son of how his drug use left him paralyzed and unable to speak.

Participants will also gain a working knowledge of the signs and symptoms of drug use and abuse, understand the problem in Ocean County and learn to create an open dialogue with children about drug abuse and its consequences.

Speakers include Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato and special guest Keith Elias, former Running Back with the New York Giants, among others.

Thursday night's forum is being held at Pine Belt Arena in Toms River, 6:30 to 9:00 PM.