TOMS RIVER, NJ — The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is helping to raise awareness of the dangers associated with prescription opioids by teaming up with local businesses to distribute life-saving information to their customers in recognition of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s (PDFNJ) Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.
Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day, held on October 6, is designated by Governor Murphy as a permanent day of prevention, education and awareness of the opioid epidemic. Each year, this statewide initiative mobilizes the prevention and treatment communities, community leaders and concerned citizens to raise awareness of the potential for dependency on prescribed pain medicine and its link to heroin and fentanyl use, as well as reduce the stigma associated with addiction.
This year, Ocean County Prosecutor, Bradley D. Billhimer, collaborated with businesses throughout Ocean County to distribute door hangers containing vital information about the risks associated with prescription opioids. Starting on Knock Out Day and continuing into 2022, the businesses affixed the doorhangers to their shopping bags, pizza boxes, menus and dry-cleaning hangers in efforts to share information with their customers.
“We are so grateful for the support from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and these businesses,” said Angelo Valente, Executive Director of PDFNJ. “Business owners and customers have been extremely receptive and grateful to have this vital information, some even sharing personal stories of addition and how having this information has helped them and their family members.”
In 2020, more than 3,000 people in New Jersey died of drug overdoses, a majority of which involved some form of opioid. In Ocean County, from January through October 2021, there have been 750 naloxone administrations to reverse opioid overdoses and 209 suspected overdose deaths. Preliminary data shows that New Jersey was on pace to end 2021 with more than 3,200 overdose deaths, which would be the most since the state started keeping track in 2012.
“This collaboration to raise awareness for Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day is a great example that other counties throughout New Jersey can use as a model to educate residents about the dangers of opioids,” said Valente.