tapinto.net: Fair Lawn Recognizes Oct. 6 as Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day


FAIR LAWN – Carol Wagner, Fair Lawn’s director of Health and Human Services, accepted a proclamation on Sept. 19, in part honoring her efforts to raise awareness of opioid abuse, and naming Oct. 6 as “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.”

The event mobilizes volunteers to hand out information about potential dependency on prescribed pain medicine and the link to heroin abuse. The effort, which has drawn volunteers from each of New Jersey’s 21 counties, will concentrate on a two-pronged approach: informing physicians and raising awareness among residents and families

Resident Pamela Coles said information has been disseminated to Bergen County coordinators of high school athletic programs describing the dangers of opioids for athletic injuries.

“Thirty-three percent of those who took opioids for pain in high school go on to abuse them afterwards,” Coles said. “Nearly half of heroin users used or abused opioids.”

An estimated 2,000 volunteers are expected to distribute hundreds of thousands of opioid misuse prevention messages as part of next month’s statewide Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day, according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

“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.”

Teams of volunteers will visit physician and dentist offices in their communities and deliver copies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for prescribing. Meanwhile, other groups will canvass neighborhoods, placing door hangers with critical information on opioid abuse on front doors of homes.

Opioid pain relievers that are abused are most often obtained via prescription from physicians, and users of prescription drugs are 40 times more likely to use heroin, according to the CDC. More than 33,000 people in the United States died of opioid overdoses in 2015, and the number of such deaths quadrupled from 1999 to 2015.

 To register for Knock Out Opioid Abuse, visit drugfreenj.org/knockoutvolunteers. Interview and photo opportunities with volunteers in your communities can be arranged.