BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. -- The second annual "Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day" will take many forms throughout Bergen County on Friday.
The statewide initiative aims to mobilize commnities to raise awareness of the potential for dependency on prescribed pain medication -- and, particularly, the direct link to heroin abuse.
As of Aug. 1, Bergen lost 57 drug users to fatal overdoses this year.
Here's another statistic: Records show there are nearly 150 overdose deaths a day throughout the United States.
However, as many as half of all parents apparently aren't aware of the scourge.
School administrators, athletic directors and community leaders are bringing this message to parents and loved ones of students -- along with the youngsters themselves.
Also being educated are doctors, dentists, and pharmacists, in the hopes that they'll be more cautious in prescribing medication.
Volunteers are also offering support and recovery resources to those who struggle with addiction.
Materials are being distributed during football games, at other sporting events and throughout schools.
Teams of volunteers will place door hangers on the front doors of homes in their communities. These signs will contain an opioid abuse prevention public service announcement with information on the link between prescribed opioids and heroin abuse.
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 thousands of volunteers across the state.
More than 2,000 volunteers participated in last year’s Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day, distributing crucial information on safe prescribing practices to physicians and dentists, as well opioid abuse prevention messages throughout communities.
The New Jersey Senate and General Assembly followed the event by unanimously approving joint legislation designating Oct. 6 in perpetuity as "Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day" in New Jersey.
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