TRENTON - Oct. 1 marked the beginning of National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month, and the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) is raising awareness about prescription opioids and their links to heroin and fentanyl through Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day Oct. 6.
According to a release from PDFNJ, an estimated 52 million, or 20%, of people ages 12 and older have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons at least once in their lifetimes. In 2020, more than 3,000 people in New Jersey died of a drug overdose, a majority of which involved some form of opioid.
Thousands of New Jersey residents will be taking part virtually in Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day, designated as a permanent day of prevention education and awareness designed to shine a light on the opioid crisis impacting thousands of New Jersey residents and families. Due to the Covid pandemic, this year’s event will take place almost exclusively in a virtual format, with New Jersey residents, businesses and organizations sharing prevention messages through social media, websites, email and more.
“The goal is to raise awareness of the link between prescribed opioids and heroin and fentanyl overdoses and deaths in our state, to reduce stigma, and encourage support for those in recovery from substance use disorder,” stated Angelo Valente, executive director, Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. “I encourage all New Jerseyans to visit the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day website to learn more about what you can do to educate fellow residents and your community about the dangers associated with opioids. Taking a few moments to spread these important messages of awareness and prevention can help to save a life.”
PDFNJ will host a Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day learning series webinar, “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day: How You Can Help Fight the Opioid Epidemic,” at 11 a.m. Oct. 6. The keynote speaker will be Jamie Mells, Ph.D., lieutenant commander, U.S. Public Health Service Overdose Data to Action Coordinator, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.