Staying Vigilant & Raising Awareness in the Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic

Johnson & Johnson and three of the largest drug distributors recently reached a $26 billion settlement with several U.S. states over the companies’ role in fueling the opioid epidemic.  While this is a certainly a step in the right direction, for many families, these companies have not done enough or even taken responsibility for misleading doctors and patients about the addictive power of opioids.

A recent article highlighted a few of the many New Jersey families that have lost a loved one due to the terrible disease of addiction.  No lawsuit settlement will ever bring them back.  Through the first six months of 2021, 1,626 people died of a drug overdose in New Jersey.

Next week, on August 31, we will recognize International Overdose Awareness Day, a day which we should all remember those who have died and support and comfort the families and friends left behind.

I also want to remind you that Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is October 6. This statewide initiative organized by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is held in collaboration with the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Addiction Services; and the Community Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris with help from partners across the state. Thousands of New Jersey residents and businesses will share information and resources electronically via email or social media to raise awareness of the dangers of opioids and the potential for dependency on prescribed pain medicine and its link to heroin abuse rates.

I urge all of you to join in Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day this year, and want to remind you to watch the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Training Webinar tomorrow, August 26 at 11 a.m.  It will provide information on this year's virtual events, resources to share with your community, and strategies you can use to help spread awareness of the opioid epidemic.

Be well.

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