Posted Thursday, October 4th, 2018
Families, community leaders, prevention and treatment professionals and concerned residents will unite on Saturday, October 6, to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic impacting New Jersey as part of the third annual Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.
Events kick off tonight with the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Concert! LIFE Center Stage, Community Coalition for a Safe & Healthy Morris, Morris County Stigma-Free, Morris County and Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey created a Songwriters Scholarship Contest to help raise awareness of the opioid epidemic that has adversely impacted far too many lives. Passionate musicians were invited to make a difference through song to help educate and bring hope to those affected by this epidemic. Seven finalists will perform from 6 – 8pm at the Malcolm Forbes Amphitheater, Morristown Medical Center.
If you or someone you know has a substance abuse issue, come out to the Morristown Green on Friday, October 5 from 12-3, where the Hope One van will give free Narcan training, information and services.
On KOOA Day itself, multiple events are taking place. In Randolph, Knock Out Opioid Abuse information has been distributed at the high school, the YMCA, and local pharmacies. The Montville Township Drug Awareness Municipal Alliance will have volunteers distributing information, going door to door. And the Wharton Municipal Alliance and Police Department is working with pharmacies, doctors and dentists to spread the word about non-opioid prescription choices.
In addition, the Jefferson Township Municipal Alliance Committee invites all to Hope Heals Through the Arts: Knock Out Opioid Abuse on October 13, featuring musicians, an open mic, art exhibits, and more; resource agencies will be available on site. Learn more about this exciting event at https://www.facebook.com/events/298148597646297/!
In 2016 — the most recent year with complete data — more than 42,000 people in the United States and about 2,000 people in New Jersey died of an opioid overdose. These deaths include those who overdosed on heroin, prescription opioids and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl.
In many cases, addiction starts at home in the medicine cabinet after someone is prescribed opioids to treat pain. In 2016, 53 percent of painkillers that were misused were given by, bought from or taken from a friend or relative, according to results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
In its third year, Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day increases 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 inform residents and health care providers on the steps they 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 help from thousands of volunteers across the state.
“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.”