With tens of thousands of people throughout the country losing their lives every year to drug overdoses, Assembly Democrats Anthony Verrelli and Daniel Benson sponsor a resolution to designate August 31 as ‘Overdose Awareness Day’ in New Jersey. The resolution was signed into law today, the same date as the newly designated awareness day.
By designating an annual Overdose Awareness Day, the law (formerly resolution AJR-178/SJR-85) aims to help more residents understand the prevalence of overdoses throughout New Jersey while reducing the stigma of discussing drug-related deaths.
The resolution previously passed the full Legislature on Thursday by a unanimous vote in both houses. Upon the measure becoming law, Assemblymen Verrelli (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) and Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex) issued the following joint statement:
“Every single life lost to an overdose is a tragedy made all the more heartbreaking with the knowledge that many of those deaths could have been prevented if more people had a better understanding of this serious issue. In 2018 alone, our state lost 2,900 of our residents to overdoses.
“The purpose of designating an Overdose Awareness Day in New Jersey is to ensure our participation in an existing international effort to prompt more discussions about overdose prevention and allow families to share the grief many feel they cannot outwardly express because of the stigma surrounding their loved one’s death.
“This day will also help send a message to anyone struggling with substance use disorders that they are valued and help is available.”