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CAPE MAY - Residents will join local experts to discuss the opioid epidemic’s impact on the community and seek possible solutions at a Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall, sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ).

According to a release, the Cape May Town Hall will examine the nature of the opioid crisis in the city and what actions are being taken to address it. 

The event will be held from Oct. 2 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Cape May Convention Hall, 714 Beach Ave. Doors will open at 8 a.m. for a naloxone training.

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, through its philanthropic arm, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, is collaborating with PDFNJ on a new two-year Knock Out Opioid Abuse initiative to address the opioid epidemic through community outreach, prescriber education, parent education, and a statewide awareness campaign.

The Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall series brings experts on the opioid epidemic from various fields, including law enforcement, the medical community, government, prevention, treatment and recovery together for events in communities in all 21 New Jersey counties throughout 2019 and 2020.

“The opioid epidemic is a multifaceted issue that requires a dynamic approach in which parents, community leaders, medical professionals, law enforcement, and other members of our community must work together and develop ways to resolve this public health crisis.” stated PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente.

The town hall is being held in collaboration with Cape Regional Health System, Cape Assist, The City of Cape May, and The Cape May County Chamber.

Mayor Clarence F. Lear III will provide opening remarks before a panel discussion featuring Chief Alex Coulter of the Cape May Fire Department; Cape Assist’s Director of Prevention, Joe Faldetta; Executive Director of Cape Regional Foundation, Tom Piratzky, and other experts on the opioid epidemic.

Residents can visit knockoutopioidabuse.drugfreenj.org to register to attend town halls, submit questions for panelists prior to the events, and share their personal stories of how they have been affected by the opioid epidemic.

In 2018, there were 47 reported overdose deaths in Cape May County, most of which involved some form of opioid, according the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. 

Law enforcement officers and emergency medical responders administered the overdose antidote, naloxone, more than 200 times that same year.

“There are no easy answers for solving the opioid epidemic, but together we can make a difference in this important fight.” stated Valente.