TOMS RIVER — Residents will join local experts to discuss the opioid epidemic’s impact on the community and seek possible solutions at a Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall, sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ).
The Toms River Town Hall will examine the nature of the opioid crisis in the township and what actions are being taken to address it. The event will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25 in Mancini Hall at the Ocean County Library - Toms River Branch, 101 Washington Street, Toms River, NJ 08753. Doors open at 10 a.m.
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, through its philanthropic arm, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, is collaborating with PDFNJ on a new two-year Knock Out Opioid Abuse initiative to address the opioid epidemic through community outreach, prescriber education, parent education and a statewide awareness campaign. The Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Series brings experts on the opioid epidemic from various fields, including law enforcement, the medical community, government, prevention, treatment and recovery together for events in communities in all 21 New Jersey counties throughout 2019 and 2020.
“The opioid epidemic is a multifaceted issue that requires a dynamic approach in which parents, community leaders, medical professionals, law enforcement, and other members of our community must work together and develop ways to resolve this public health crisis.” said PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente.
The Toms River Town Hall is being held in collaboration with Hope Sheds Light and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer will headline a panel of experts who will discuss the impact of the opioid epidemic on the Toms River community.
“Horizon looks forward to continuing the statewide conversation on how to combat the larger opioid epidemic and applying what we learned from the first round of town halls to actionable steps that connect people to localized services and solutions,” said Jonathan R. Pearson, Executive Director of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. “In addition, town halls will be streamed live on a new website so that anyone can attend and experience the discussion.”
Residents can visit knockoutopioidabuse.drugfreenj.org to register to attend town halls, submit questions for panelists prior to the events, and share their personal stories of how they have been affected by the opioid epidemic.
The website also features information on scheduled town halls, videos from each event and a look into the lives of New Jersey residents who have been affected by the opioid epidemic. It also includes an online continuing medical education program for prescribers and information on parent education through the 5th Grade Parent Alert.
In 2018, Ocean County’s 217 drug overdose deaths — most of which involved some form of opioid — ranked fourth among New Jersey’s 21 counties, according the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. Law enforcement officers administered the overdose antidote, naloxone, 811 times that same year.
“There are no easy answers for solving the opioid epidemic, but together we can make a difference in this important fight.” said Valente.
For more information on the Toms River Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall or to see a list of other upcoming town halls, visit knockoutopioidabuse.drugfreenj.org.
Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey: Best known for its statewide substance use prevention advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication. To date, more than $100 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership’s New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey’s history. Since its inception, the Partnership has garnered 180 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.
About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's oldest and largest health insurer is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, vision and prescription insurance products and services. Horizon BCBSNJ is leading the transformation of health care in New Jersey by working with doctors and hospitals to deliver innovative, patient-centered programs that reward the quality, not quantity, of care patients receive. Learn more at www.HorizonBlue.com. Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association serving more than 3.8 million members.
About The Horizon Foundation For New Jersey: The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is committed to working alongside those who can help us improve our neighbors’ health, inform their health decisions and inspire them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. The Foundation’s funding pillars are Caring, Connecting and Creating. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the sole member of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, both of which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit www.Horizonblue.com/Foundation