Day to Bring Awareness to Dangers of Opioid Abuse and Encourage More Educational Programming
Abuse of opioids -prescription painkillers – is a “growing, deadly epidemic” according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In hopes of combating this growing crisis in New Jersey, legislation to permanently designate October 6th as “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” was signed into law by the Governor on Monday.
The law (AJR-95) specifically aims to improve community awareness of opioid abuse and its link to heroin addiction. Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle, John Armato and Vincent Mazzeo, primary sponsors of the law, issued the following statements:
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen): “By nature, prescription opioids, like Oxycodone and Percocet, are addictive. Unfortunately, for many the addiction doesn’t stop when the prescription ends. Being a cheaper and more easily obtained alternative, many turn to heroin. About half of the New Jerseyans in drug treatment centers suffer from heroin or opioid addictions making it an alarming epidemic. That is what makes this law imperative. It’s the best preemptive approach to combating severe rises in opioid and heroin abuse.”
Assemblyman John Armato (D-Atlantic): “The permanent designation of October 6th as “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” will spur more educational, community-based awareness programs. The law stresses the need to educate more than our health care professionals and community leaders. It seeks to impress greater need for grassroots programs that inform families, friends and neighbors. Tackling this problem starts with understanding it better at all levels within our community.”
Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic): “Allowing the short-term medical benefits of opioids to overshadow their long-term effects has impacted the well-being of people throughout New Jersey. It is necessary, now more than ever, to impress the urgency of this opioid crisis we are facing. Despite a significant amount of legislative work being done to tackle the problem, people and communities remain at the heart of the solution. With this law we are taking the right steps toward raising the needed awareness.