NEW JERSEY — Volunteers throughout the state will unite to combat the deadly opioid crisis on Saturday, Oct. 6, by delivering vital information in their communities on the dangers of prescription opioids and their link to heroin use on the third annual Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.
The event — a statewide initiative organized by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and other state and local organizations — will feature parents, prevention and treatment professionals, community leaders, students and concerned residents sharing prevention information with the medical community and New Jersey residents and families to help stem the tide of overdose deaths and addiction that is ravaging New Jersey and the nation.
In 2016 — the most recent year with complete data — more than 42,000 people in the United States and 2,000 people in New Jersey lost their lives from an opioid overdose. Provisional death counts for 2017 indicate an even higher number of drug overdose deaths, and New Jersey is on pace to have more than 3,000 such deaths in 2018.
“Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day inspires residents from all walks of life and all corners of New Jersey to take action against this opioid epidemic that has caused so much tragedy in our state,” said Angelo Valente, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. “All New Jersey citizens and healthcare professionals can be a part of the solution to this crisis by being well-informed and aware of the dangers of prescription opioids and how they can potentially lead to the use of heroin and other opioids.”
More than 5,000 volunteers participated in last year’s Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day, distributing crucial information on safe prescribing practices to healthcare providers, as well door hangers to residents in neighborhoods throughout New Jersey. Volunteers also organized events, such as songwriting contests, candlelight vigils and charity walks to spread messages of prevention and recovery.
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 help from partners across the state.
For information on Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day, visit drugfreenj.org/knockoutvolunteers. To learn about volunteer activities in your area, contact Matt Birchenough at firstname.lastname@example.org or 201-916-1032. Interview and photo opportunities with volunteers and organizers are available upon request.