NEWTON, NJ—The Sussex County Freeholders have proclaimed that October 6 will be “Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day” in our communities.

This initiative, although it only takes place for one day, is a statewide initiative that will help “families, the prevention and treatment communities, concerned citizens and community leaders, raise awareness of the potential for dependency on prescribed pain medicine and its link to heroin abuse rates in our state,” according to Annmarie Shafer, Coordinator of the Coalition for Healthy & Safe Communities with the Center for Prevention and Counseling.

The focus of this initiative is two-parted. The first part will be education physicians and the second part will be raising awareness among New Jersey citizens and their families. There will be volunteers from multiple groups including, but not limited to the following:

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  • The Coalition for Healthy and Safe Communities
  • The Center for Prevention and Counseling
  • The Sussex County Municipal Alliances of the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse

These volunteers will be “canvassing Sussex County physicians equipped with information including “door knocker” PSAs and copies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opioid prescribing guidelines. “The expectation is that prescribers will better understand the need to have discussions of the dangers of opioids, when prescribed, stressing the risk of dependency and the possible alternatives that exist, especially when prescribing to adolescent patients,” said Shafer.

Along with the education of physicians, the event was also designed a s a way to raise awareness of the opioid abuse epidemic that New Jersey is facing, as well as the steps that everyone can take to stop it.

Some of the teams of volunteers went around the community placing “door knockers” or hanging tags on every front door of the local homes. The signs contain an opioid abuse prevention public service announcement with information on the connection between prescribed opiates and heroin use.

“We sincerely hope that whether you are a physician, school teacher, business owner, parent or any other community member, please welcome volunteers this Thursday, October 6 for “Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day!” said Shafer. To reach Annmarie Shafer or to get more information you can email her at annmarie@centerforprevention.org or visit the website at www.centerforprevention.org.