New Jersey Volunteers Set To Raise Awareness on Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day

New Jersey Volunteers Set To Raise Awareness on Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day

By Kelly Burch 10/05/16

On Thursday, 2,000 volunteers will hit the road on a mission to share CDC guidelines to prescribers in New Jersey.

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New Jersey Volunteers Set To Raise Awareness on Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day
Photo via Hacksensack.org

On Thursday, more than 2,000 volunteers across New Jersey will work to raise awareness about the link between prescription pain medication and heroin addiction as part of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day.

Volunteers will visit doctors’ and dentists’ offices in an effort to counteract the actions of pharmaceutical representatives who visit the offices often pushing drugs that are associated with addiction. They will also reach out to community members in order to raise awareness of opiate abuse among the general public. 

“They’ll be visiting doctors and dentists’ offices throughout the state, sharing the CDC guidelines about safe prescribing,” said Angelo Valente, executive director of Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, in a statement.

Volunteers will be distributing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new guidelines, released in March, specifically call for doctors to assess risks of opiate addiction and to take necessary action to counteract those risks when prescribing opiate pain pills. 

The recognition that opiates produce harmful side effects is important for the medical community to recognize, after years of the pharmaceutical and medical industries denying that there was any harm to the powerful drugs. 

“We have learned over the last 10 years through research that the complete opposite is true, and sometimes the benefits don’t outweigh the risks of addiction that come along in some individuals that are using these drugs,” said Valente.

In addition to reaching out to prescribers, volunteers will interact with the public, encouraging families to think twice before allowing a doctor to prescribe opiate painkillers to their child.

“In some cases, that abuse begins at the prescription pad,” Valente said. “We need to make sure that we are looking at alternatives to opiates. In some examples, opiates are not necessary and I think that’s what these conversations will prove.” 

Volunteers will canvass neighborhoods, encouraging conversation about opiate addiction and its link to painkillers, and distributing information on opiate abuse prevention. 

The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey aims to raise awareness and dispel myths about drugs in the state, particularly for young people. Anyone interested in volunteering for Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day is encouraged to sign up at www.drugfreenj.org in order to receive official training and information. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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