(TRENTON) – 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 seeking to designate October 6th as “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” was approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on Thursday.
The resolution (AJR-95) specifically aims to improve community awareness of opioid abuse and its link to heroin addiction. Assembly Democrat Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), primary sponsor, issued the following statement:
“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 resolution imperative. It’s the best preemptive approach to combating severe rises in opioid and heroin abuse.
The permanent designation of October 6th as “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” will spur more educational, community-based awareness programs. The legislation 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.”