TRENTON, NJ — The New Jersey State Legislature reaffirmed its commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic and its support for the efforts of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey by proclaiming October 6 as Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day in the state.

The Senate unanimously passed a joint resolution Thursday that permanently designated October 6 as a key day for spreading education and awareness of the risks of prescription opioids and their link to heroin use. 

The opioid epidemic has continued to inflict unbearable tragedy upon the state. Through the first nine months of 2018, more than 2,100 people in New Jersey have died of an overdose, a vast majority of which were opioid-related. 

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The resolution, sponsored by Loretta Weinberg (D – Bergen) and Kristin M. Corrado (R – Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic), requests the governor to issue an annual proclamation on October 6 and “call upon public officials and the citizens of this State to observe the day with appropriate activities and programs.”

“The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is grateful for the support of the New Jersey State Senate and General Assembly in addressing the opioid epidemic,” said Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey Executive Director Angelo Valente. “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is vital to making significant progress against the opioid epidemic. Educating our residents and healthcare providers is a key step in preventing the tragedy of overdose deaths and addiction that has already affected far too many New Jersey families and communities.” 

Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is a project of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, in cooperation 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.

The event is a statewide initiative that feature parents, prevention and treatment professionals, community leaders, students and other concerned residents sharing prevention information with the medical community and New Jersey residents and families.

More than 10,000 volunteers participated in last year’s Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day, distributing crucial information on safe prescribing practices to healthcare providers, as well as door hangers to residents in neighborhoods throughout New Jersey. The day also featured local events, such as songwriting contests, candlelight vigils and charity walks to spread messages of prevention and recovery.

“Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day gives residents from all communities to do their part in the fight against the opioid epidemic,” Valente said. “All New Jersey citizens and healthcare professionals are encouraged to be a part of the solution to this crisis by being well-informed and aware of the dangers of prescription opioids and how they can potentially lead to the use of heroin and other opioids.”   

For information on Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day, visit drugfreenj.org/knockoutvolunteers. To learn about volunteer activities in your area, contact Matt Birchenough at media@drugfreenj.org or 201-916-1032. Interview and photo opportunities with volunteers and organizers are available upon request.