PDFNJ and Super Football Conference Work Together to Knock Out Opioid Abuse


Contacts: Natalie Golub, 973-382-4560, natalie@drugfreenj.org

PDFNJ and Super Football Conference Work Together to Knock Out Opioid Abuse 

MILLBURN — The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) is teaming up with the Super Football Conference to help raise awareness among student athletes about the dangers of prescription opioids as part of the 7th annual Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day being held on October 6.

Designated by Governor Murphy as a permanent day of prevention education and awareness, Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is designed to shine light on the opioid crisis impacting thousands of New Jersey residents and families.

This year, the Super Football Conference, comprised of 113 high school football teams throughout northern New Jersey, is helping to raise awareness among student athletes who can be more susceptible to opioid misuse and addiction due to a higher likelihood of exposure to prescription opioids to treat sports injuries. 

Recent studies have indicated a greater risk for youth athletes to become addicted to opioids. For example, male adolescent athletes who participated in competitive sports across a three-year study period had two times greater odds of being prescribed painkillers during the past year and had four times greater odds of medically misusing painkillers than those who did not participate in sports.

The Monitoring the Future survey also found that adolescent participants in high-injury sports had 50 percent higher odds of nonmedical use of prescription opioids than adolescents who did not participate in these types of sports.

“The goal of Knock Out Day is to raise awareness of the link between prescribed opioids and heroin and fentanyl overdoses and deaths in our state,” said PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente. “We are grateful that the Super Football Conference is joining with us to raise awareness among its athletes, who may be more at risk.”

Each of the schools participating received a Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day Football Resource Kit with helmet stickers for players and information to distribute to spectators and parents, as well as stats and facts to be shared during game announcements.

“Given the clear risk that opioid abuse presents to our student-athletes, we appreciate any opportunity to raise awareness of this ongoing crisis,” said John Fraraccio, Athletic Director at Memorial High School in West New York and First Vice President of the Super Football Conference. “We are proud to be associated with the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, which has already done so much to help at-risk young people.”

Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day efforts are led by PDFNJ 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.

In 2021, more than 3,000 people in New Jersey died of a drug overdose, a majority of which involved some form of opioid. From January through July 2022 there were 1,699 overdose-related deaths, and emergency personnel administered the opioid overdose antidote naloxone 8,691 times.

To learn more about all that Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day offers, to get involved and to sign up for the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day Learning Series Webinar at 11 a.m. on October 6 please visit www.knockoutday.drugfreenj.org.

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