NEWTON, NJ—A Program of the Center for Prevention & Counseling Center, the Coalition for Healthy & Safe Communities has announced a new prevention initiative which will address the use of opioid pain relivers for sports-related injuries among young athletes.

According to the Center, “This initiative compliments New Jersey Department of Education’s recent commitment to address and prevent the misuse of prescription drugs among young athletes.”

School Administrators, Athletic Directors, Coaches and Recreational Sports affiliates are invited to attend the inaugural event, “Tackling Opioids through Prevention for Athletes,” which will be held on August 21 from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. at Skylands Stadium Event Center.

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The 2-hour training session includes a TOP Athlete Toolkit, dinner, and a ticket for each participant to attend the Sussex County Miner’s baseball game that night, which has a 7:05 p.m. start time.

This event will include featured speakers such as, Sussex County Prosecutor Francis Koch, who will share trends and resources to combat opioid addiction, Theo Sibblies, Mentor, Trainer, Coach and Motivational Speaker, who will discuss how communities can help athletes, students and persons alike strive for achievement to sustain top performance in sports, academia and life in general and Martin Miller, Executive Director of Garden State Pharmacy Owners, Inc. (GSPO), who will introduce a particular initiative he works diligently towards which is SOAP (Stop Opioid Abuse Program), a joint effort between the GSPO and NJ State Interscholastic Athlete Association (NJSIAA) to help prevent opioid abuse, according to the Center for Prevention & Counseling.

Sibblies has worked in academic and athletic arenas for the last 25 years and has had great success establishing his own business called Designed Life Consulting, in which he helps athletes and students strive for achievement and sustain their top performance in sports, academia, and line in general. “As a former athlete, I find passion in helping the youth, high school and collegiate student athletes’ excel,” he said.

“As our country is in the midst of a health crisis due to addiction, it is important to address all populations with prevention efforts to reduce the increase in use and misuse of prescription medication,” said Ashley Brown, the newest Prevention specialist on the Center’s team. “As you may be aware, young adults who participate in athletics are at greater risk to engage in nonmedical prescription opioid use because they are at greater risk of injury or because of a greater opportunity to receive diverted opioid medications from teammates.”

In response to the many studies who have found that youth who are highly involved in competitive sports are at a greater risk of being prescribed opioid medications, misusing opioid medications, and being approached to divert these opioid medications, according to the Center for Prevention and Counseling, they are taking action.

“If you are an affiliate of a sports program, a sports leader or enthusiast we encourage you to be part of the solution to prevent the misuse of opioid pain medication among student athletes’ grades four through college,” Brown said.

The event is free, but registration is required. For more information and/or to attend “Tackling Opioids through Prevention for Athletes,” on Tuesday, August 21st, please contact Brown at Center for Prevention & Counseling by emailing ashleyb@centerforprevention.org or calling (973) 383-4787, Ext. 231.