Knock Out Opioid Abuse this Friday

| 03 Oct 2017 | 02:05

    — On this Friday, throughout New Jersey, thousands of moms, dads, prevention and treatment professionals, students and concerned residents will mobilize to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic impacting our state on the second annual Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day. The Center for Prevention and Counseling in Newton is leading this effort in Sussex County with the help of local volunteers and there is still time to get involved!
    "Thank you to the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey for spearheading this initiative in New Jersey. We held a very successful Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall in Newton last week with wonderful participation from the community. This Friday, October 6th is yet another opportunity for the public to participate in the solution to opioid misuse. The effort does not end here. We need all sectors to learn more about resources available to assist their clients, patients, friends and relatives and, also, to learn how everyone can be of help as we address addiction in Sussex County.” stated Becky Carlson, Executive Director, Center for Prevention and Counseling, Newton.
    In its second year, Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day hopes to increase the understanding of the opioid crisis through a mobilization effort with a dual focus: educating physicians and raising awareness among New Jersey citizens and families. It is designed to bring attention to the opioid crisis facing the state with steps residents can take to stem the epidemic. The New Jersey Senate and General Assembly responded following the first event in 2016 by unanimously approving joint legislation designating October 6 in perpetuity as Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day in New Jersey.
    Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is a project of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, in cooperation with the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Addiction Services; and the Community Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris, with thousands of volunteers across the state. Locally, The Center for Prevention and Counseling is welcoming volunteers to help on October 6th by calling (973)383-4787 and asking to get involved.
    “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is an opportunity to engage New Jersey's medical community and families about safe prescribing and non-addictive alternatives to acute and chronic pain,” said Angelo M. Valente, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. “We need to educate all residents and all prescribers with the most current research and protocols that, if implemented, will save lives and protect families.”
    Teams of volunteers across the state will visit physician and dental offices in their community to share the CDC Guidelines for prescribing. Volunteers urge prescribers to follow the guidelines in their own practice and provide information on local organizations and resources focusing on the opioid abuse epidemic for physicians to share with their patients. They also encourage prescribers to discuss the dangers of opioids when they are prescribed, including the risk of dependency and possible alternatives that might exist.
    Valente added that, in neighborhoods throughout New Jersey, students, scouts and concerned families will blanket their community with “door knocker” hang tags for the front doors of local homes. These signs contain an opioid abuse prevention public service announcement with information on the link between prescribed opioids and heroin abuse.
    “With the epidemic levels of opioid abuse impacting our state, the time to educate and raise awareness is now,” Valente said.
    According to the CDC, opioid pain relievers that are abused were most often obtained via prescription from physicians, and users of prescription drugs are 40 times more likely to use heroin. More than 33,000 people in the United States died of opioid overdoses in 2015, and the number of such deaths quadrupled from 1999 to 2015.
    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, legitimate opioid use before high school graduation is independently associated with a 33 percent increase in the risk of future opioid misuse after high school. Use of prescribed opioids before the 12th grade is independently associated with future opioid misuse among patients with little drug experience and who disapprove of illegal drug use.
    For more information, contact Annmarie Shafer at The Center for Prevention and Counseling at (973)383-4787 or email