Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is October 6th
In 2019, more than 3,000 people died of a drug overdose in New Jersey. This tragic total actually represented a decrease from the previous year and perhaps a positive sign of progress being made in the fight against the opioid crisis.
However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged New Jersey and the nation, overdose deaths have increased once again with the state on pace to experience roughly 3,200 in 2020.
Some progress has been made in the fight against the epidemic, but the opioid crisis is still inflicting pain and tragedy on far too many New Jersey residents and Americans around the country. Obstacles to prevention, treatment and recovery created by the pandemic have only made the issue worse in 2020.
In an effort to bring further awareness to this crisis, thousands of New Jersey residents will participate in Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day on and around October 6. As part of the statewide initiative, citizens will be sharing information about the potential for dependency on prescribed opioids and their link to heroin use. This year’s event, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place almost exclusively in a virtual format on social media, organization websites and webinars.
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. The Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction as well the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County are also taking part in this initiative.
We have all been impacted by the opioid crisis in some way. The good news is that each of us can help to prevent opioid abuse in our communities. Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is a perfect opportunity to be a part of the solution to this crisis. Please join us on October 6.
Visit knockoutday.drugfreenj.org for more information and to sign up to volunteer.
Those of us who suffer from pain every day, whether from trauma or illness, know how valuable effective pain relief is, and how cruel the withholding of relief is, to those who have pain. Acute pain after surgery or an accident, is felt more intensely in some individuals, but once you've experienced it, you would never wish it on anyone, even if you've known someone who made a decision to take drugs and overdosed. Those being abandoned to suffer in pain, are not given this choice, when pain relief is denied. It comes down to a choice, for those who took drugs incorrectly and harmed themselves.
There should be no doubt that these drugs should not be withheld to those who suffer chronic pain and can find relief no other way. However we must be mindful of the way these drugs have been prescribed in the past, and realize their great potential for addiction in as little as five days of use. For many, there are safer alternatives and approaches to pain management than opioids including mindfulness, physical therapy, yoga, etc.