njherald.com: Volunteers sought for 'Knock out Opiate Abuse Day'


By  New Jersey Herald

Posted: Aug. 10, 2016 12:01 am

NEWTON -- Volunteers are needed to participate in a "feet on the ground" grass roots effort to educate medical professionals and the public on the dangers of opiate abuse during a statewide initiative on Oct. 6 called "Knock out Opiate Abuse Day."

For those interested in volunteering, information about the effort will be given out Friday, Aug. 12, at the monthly coalition meeting at the Center for Prevention and Counseling on Spring Street.

The information meeting will be held at 9 a.m. at 61 Spring St. on the second floor.

"It is a statewide event geared to educating medical professionals -- oral surgeons, primary care physicians, dentists, medical staff -- about the opiate addiction epidemic and what solutions are being created," said Annmarie Shafer, a coalition coordinator for the Center for Prevention and Counseling.

Shafer said volunteers will be talking, among other things, about new Centers for Disease Control guidelines about how medical professionals should prescribe opiate-based drugs in the safest manner.

"Start slow and go low," Shafer said.

"For example if someone gets their wisdom teeth out, rather than prescribing 40 Percocet, encourage them to use Advil and prescribe two or three pills.

"Adolescents who are prescribed opioid pain killers are more prone to addiction later in life."

According to a presentation by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, if a teenager is prescribed opiate drugs before high school graduation it raises the risk of future opioid abuse by 33 percent.

The organization also said that in 2012, health care professionals wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers, which is enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.

Shafer said the Oct. 6 event is a grass roots effort to get the word out about opiate addiction, with people going door to door to medical offices around the county and also throughout the community.

"We want people to come to us and collect the information materials and then distribute them to their neighborhood, their play group, everyone," she said.

"The more people we can get to help get the word out would be great. This is an old- fashioned way of getting information out."

If you cannot attend the meeting and want more information, email Shafer at annmarie@centerforprevention.org.