Thursday, October 6th, 2016

The volunteers were active in all 39 Morris County municipalities on what was proclaimed by the Freeholders as Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day in Morris County, which is part of a statewide volunteer event set to spread the word to opiate prescribers and families about the opiate epidemic.

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(l/r) Freeholder Hank Lyon and Dr. Christopher Heitzman from Rockaway Family Medicine Associates

The Freeholders also have urged county residents to help persons battling drug addictions overcome the stigma of their problem so they are more willing to seek help to lead to recovery. They have declared Morris County as a Stigma Free Community.

“We understand the severity of this situation and, of course, realize that today’s event alone will not solve this problem. But it is part of what will be a continuing countywide effort to make the community even more aware of the crisis we are facing, one that threatens every single family in our community,’’ said Freeholder Hank Lyon, who participated in “Knock Out” events in Dover, Morristown, and Rockaway Township today.

At the Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion in Rockaway, he visited Rockaway Family Medicine Associates and urgent care services, a multi-specialty suite staffed with internal medicine specialists, and also housing Garden State Urology.

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Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day is an initiative with a dual purpose:

  • Educate families of the addictive qualities of opioid pain medicines and their link to heroin abuse;
  • Outreach to physicians and dentists who prescribe opiates, asking them to consider other therapies and treatment goals for patients, and to discuss with patients the pros and cons of opioids.
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Freeholder Lyon with (l/r) nurses Stacie Gallo, Nicole Williams-Buck, Ioanna Kobylinski

“This is part of a statewide initiative to deal with the epidemic of opiate abuse and resultant addiction in our state and right here in Morris County,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo, who participated in today’s activities.

“The Freeholders feels strongly about this issue which is why we are joining with them in the forefront of this battle, and ask all county residents to join with us,” added Freeholder Tom Mastrangelo, who also joined in activities today.

This statewide single-day initiative is designed to mobilize the prevention and treatment communities, community leaders, and concerned residents to raise awareness of the potential for dependency on prescribed pain medicine and its link heroin abuse.MORRIS-COUNTY-STIGMA-FREE

Teams of volunteers across Morris County visited physician and dental offices in their communities, equipped with information for each prescriber designed to raise awareness of the opioid abuse epidemic facing New Jersey and the steps they can take to help stem the epidemic

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Morris County Opiate Abuse Task Force, the Community Coalition for a Safe & Healthy Morris, and the Morris County Department of Human Services, along with many community and non-profit organizations have been working publicly for the past few years to call attention to this epidemic and educate the public.