You Too Can Be Part of Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day in Our State

The Opioid epidemic is continuing to devastate our state. So far this year, there have been more than 2,000 overdoses and naloxone has been administered over 9,000 times.

This epidemic is at crisis levels and we all have been impacted one way or another – either in our families, through our friends or in our communities. We all can also all try to be part of the solution to address this crisis, and one significant way to do that is to raise awareness.

Not only about the facts of the epidemic, but also about the face of it –so that we can remove the barrier of stigma that prevents so many from seeking help for their addiction, for recognizing the signs and symptoms or dependency and addiction, or from educating our youth about the dangers of prescribed opioids, heroin or fentanyl because we don’t think we can be impacted because of our background or zip code.

The 3rd Annual Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is this Saturday, October 6th. This day of awareness and education is an opportunity we all can be a part of, and whether it is leaving a printed message with our neighbors or co-workers, sharing a #KnockOutOpioidAbuse social media post, asking your faith leader to incorporate a message into a sermon or newsletter, or connecting with your community or county leader to be a part of planned events in your community. Participants have continued to share messages with their local law enforcement or through their municipal or school athletic events, sometimes on October 6th and sometimes throughout the entire month of October. Others have visited or spoken to their local doctors and dentists about safer prescribing strategies, and shared information and educational resources with them.

Every action or event makes a difference in our goal to knock out opioid abuse. Below are a few examples of the many successful and impactful outreach that has taken place over the past two years. Please consider being part of this effort in any way that you can. 

Engaging Youth to Knock Out Opioid Abuse

The Garfield Police Department participated in Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day for the first time in 2017 and employed a community approach to get the word out about the dangers of prescription opioids and their link to heroin use. The department partnered with the Garfield Prevention Coalition, the mayor and city council, and former Bergen County Prosecutor and current New Jersey State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to hold a ceremony the morning of Knock out Opioid Abuse Day before canvassing the street with materials. Students from the high school’s EPIC program delivered the information throughout the city, while police officers performed a three-part canvass approach by distributing materials in known drug areas, prescriber guides to doctors’ offices and pharmacy bags to pharmacies in the city. Law enforcement can play a big part in spreading the message to Knock Out Opioid Abuse!

 

Score Big with Sports Outreach Efforts

Last year in Bergen County, volunteers Marge D’anna and Pam Coles helped to bring the message of Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day to schools, specifically high school athletes and their parents, coaches and spectators. More than a dozen teams incorporated Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day into one of their October home football games by handing out door hangers and other materials, including Knock Out Opioid Abuse wristbands. These efforts helped to bring vital information on the dangers of prescription opioids to a vulnerable population: high school athletes, who are more likely to be prescribed opioids after suffering sports-related injuries. For 2018, Marge and Pam have worked to bring the program to even more schools for football and other sports. Reach out to your schools and local athletic organizations to get them involved in Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day!

 

Local Businesses Can Deliver Prevention Messages

Last year, volunteers delivered potentially lifesaving information about the risks of prescription opioids to New Jersey residents in many creative ways. Volunteers in Sussex County thought outside the box, literally. They met with pizzeria owners throughout the county, asking them to place door hangers on the outside of their pizza boxes. Several businesses obliged and helped to bring this vital information into more homes.

 

Local Leaders to Help Spread the KOOAD Message

In 2017, Community in Crisis of Somerset County helped organize several volunteer activities to spread the message of Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day. Organizers contacted United States Congressman Leonard Lance, who helped scouts and local officials deliver door hangers to homes in a Somerset County neighborhood and held a press event. Community in Crisis also teamed with Ridge Against Alcohol and Drugs students to hang the materials from every classroom door at Ridge High School for back to school night. The organization expanded its reach by putting handouts on cars in commuter parking lots and asking dry cleaner businesses to distribute them on hangers. There are many ways you can spread the message to Knock Out Opioid Abuse!

 

Police and Schools Are Great Partners to Knock Out Opioid Abuse

Distributing information about the risks of prescription opioids can seem daunting if you have to do it all by yourself. That’s why it’s important to consider recruiting other groups and organizations to be a part of Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day to help share the message. Volunteers from the Southwest Council in Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland counties did just that during the 2017 event. They contacted school counselors to offer door hangers and posters that could be displayed throughout the schools in the area in the weeks leading up to Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day. They also relied on local police departments to distribute materials in their municipalities. Communicate with schools and law enforcement to help share prevention messages on Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day!

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