With every passing day and every additional death, it is becoming more evident that opiate drugs present a growing threat to health and that is why Oct. 6 was declared “Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day” by state government officials.
Joining hands with state officials, East Windsor Mayor Janice S. Mironov also declared Oct. 6 to be “Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day” in the township, through a proclamation issued at the Township Council’s Oct. 9 meeting.
“It is becoming more and more apparent this is a serious issue,” Mironov said.
The issue transcends socioeconomic status, nor is it an age issue because it affects young and old alike, she said.
Mironov said she was pleased to issue the proclamation, which is intended to raise awareness of the potential dependency on prescription pain medicine and its link to heroin abuse in New Jersey. Doctors, community leaders and citizens need to know about it.
The proclamation states that in New Jersey, more than 2.7 million prescriptions for highly addictive opioids were prescribed to children and adults, often without background information on the drugs’ addictive qualities.
A Drug-Free New Jersey has said opioid use by high school students increases the future misuse of opioids by 33 percent after students graduate from high school, the proclamation stated. The overall result is a life-threatening opioid abuse epidemic.
A group of concerned citizens in East Windsor and Hightstown recognized the issue, banding together to offer counseling services to help people who are dealing with drug abuse and mental health issues.
I.C.A.R.E. of East Windsor-Hightstown arranged for the Family Guidance Center to offer counseling at the former YMCA building on Mercer Street, Hightstown, until the building was sold earlier this year, followed by the dissolution of the Family Guidance Center and its counselors.
Mironov pointed out at the Oct. 9 meeting that a new counseling center opened last month at 133 S. Main St., Hightstown, to fill the void. I.C.A.R.E. of East Windsor-Hightstown, along with Mercer County, arranged for Jewish Family and Children’s Service to provide counseling services.
“The counseling service is back up and running,” Mironov said.
Councilman Peter Yeager thanked Mironov for keeping the issue of opioid abuse in the forefront. The number of victims continues to climb and steps must be taken to keep drugs out of the hands of potential abusers, he said.
“On the local front, the East Windsor Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Substance Abuse is doing the best we can with what we have,” Deputy Mayor John Zoller said.