MILLBURN, NJ — The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey will continue their joint effort to educate New Jersey residents on the opioid crisis in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Licensed clinical social worker Stephanie Iannelli of LIVE Well Counseling in Toms River will examine the impact the pandemic has had on children in the third installment of the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Webinar Series, “COVID-19 Pandemic & the Trauma Impacting Our Children,” at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 14.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life drastically for all Americans and presented them with numerous challenges to their mental wellbeing,” PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “Children are particularly vulnerable to the mental and emotional impact of recent developments, and it is important to discuss how we can best protect our children while examining the link between emotional trauma and substance use.”

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Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, through its philanthropic arm, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, has been collaborating with PDFNJ on a two-year Knock Out Opioid Abuse initiative to address the opioid epidemic through community outreach, prescriber education, parent education and a statewide awareness campaign.  

The Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Series brings experts on the opioid epidemic from various fields, including law enforcement, the medical community, government, prevention, treatment and recovery together for events in communities in all 21 New Jersey counties. PDFNJ and Horizon have expanded the initiative in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering a webinar series to help continue the conversation about the opioid crisis.

In 2019, 3,021 people in New Jersey died from suspected drug overdoses, a vast majority of which involved some form of opioid.

Participants can register for the free webinar at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__83DKWU8Sg2iY4gi7iDZfQ.

To learn more about the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Series and to view past town hall events, visit https://knockoutopioidabuse.drugfreenj.org.

Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey: Best known for its statewide substance use prevention advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication. To date, more than $100 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership’s New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey’s history. Since its inception, the Partnership has garnered 180 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.

About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's oldest and largest health insurer is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, vision and prescription insurance products and services. Horizon BCBSNJ is leading the transformation of health care in New Jersey by working with doctors and hospitals to deliver innovative, patient-centered programs that reward the quality, not quantity, of care patients receive. Learn more at www.HorizonBlue.com. Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association serving more than 3.4 million members.

About The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey: The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is committed to working alongside those who can help us improve our neighbors’ health, inform their health decisions and inspire them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. The Foundation’s funding pillars are Caring, Connecting and Creating. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the sole member of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, both of which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit www.Horizonblue.com/Foundation.