Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Tomorrow is Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day in NJ. 2,000 volunteers in every corner of our state will be making history.

The newjerseyhills.com editorial below says it all. A meaningful tribute to each and every Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day volunteer.

…WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE

 

from newjerseyhills.com

EDITORIAL: It's time to knock it out

Opiate abuse may be the most under-publicized health epidemic facing our state and country.

The prevalence of addiction to pain-killers hits close to home, affecting many of your neighbors, friends and even family members across the Watchung Hills region. Just look at all the people lined up at the local Walgreens, CVS and other pharmacies.

So a group of concerned stakeholders is doing something about it. And they will have their voices head loud and clear this week.

On Thursday in Long Hill Township, a team of volunteers will canvas local neighborhoods in a concerted effort to “Knock Out Opiate Abuse.”

An over-reliance on prescription medications to remedy even the mildest physical (and even emotional) malady has led to this epidemic. Unfortunately, it has become far too easy for physicians, dentists and therapists to write out prescriptions when their patients complain about how they are feeling. With growing frequency, they become hooked and keep “coming back for more.”

An estimated one in five patients with non-cancer pain or pain-related diagnoses is prescribed opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Their statistics indicate prescription opioid sales in the U.S. have increased by 300 percent since 1999. Yet there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain Americans report.

Do you see something wrong here?

That’s why the opiate abuse protest this Thursday in Long Hill and other communities across the region justly includes visits to medical and dental offices. These healthcare professionals must become the first line of defense before this widespread upsurge can be halted. They must prescribe responsibly to reduce overdose.

In 2012 alone, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers. That’s enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.

We hope residents and doctors across Long Hill, along with neighboring Warren and Watchung, really “get the message” this week. It is time to “Knock Out Opiate Abuse” before things get any worse.

The Centers for Disease Control also must provide the latest opioid-prescribing guidelines to healthcare professionals, whether they be primary care providers, dentists or substance abuse counselors.

It is well past time for public awareness to be raised about the potential for dependency to prescribed pain medication, and its direct link to the alarming heroin abuse rates in New Jersey.

 

The message being shared by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is crystal clear. A drug prescription can much too easily lead to heroin abuse. Would you give your child heroin to remove a wisdom tooth or for a broken arm?

Doctor-prescribed opioid use before high school graduation increases the risk of future opioid misuse after high school by a startling 33 percent.

From 1999 to 2014, more than 165,000 people died from overdoses that were related to prescription opioids. The number who died each year quadrupled in less than 15 years.

One of the main problems is that existing opioid prescribing guidelines vary in recommendations, and many healthcare providers say their receive insufficient training in how to prescribe pain relievers.

With Thursday’s “Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day,” the time has come for physicians and dental professionals in our Watchung Hills communities to listen carefully to the message.

And for their patients in Long Hill, Warren and Watchung to receive appropriate pain treatment as they carefully consider both the benefits and risks of treatment options.

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