Opioids have a place in medicine to reduce pain – but they have no place in the hands of an addict.
To break the drug’s hold, Oct. 6 has been declared “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” – and the Lawrence Township Council has adopted a resolution in support of it.
Every year since 2016, Oct. 6 has been designated as “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.” It was the brainchild of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, with the goal of educating physicians and citizens about opioid drugs’ dangers.
While opioid drugs are useful for short-term pain management, according to the proclamation, the drugs also pose serious risks of overdose, misuse and abuse. There were 68,000 opioid-related deaths in 2018.
Once addicted to opioids, many people go on to abuse heroin, which is a semi-synthetic opioid drug, because it is less expensive and more readily available on the illegal drug market, the proclamation stated.
Citing the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the proclamation stated that New Jersey’s per capita rate of 8.3 heroin-related deaths per 100,000 people is more than triple the national rate.
The proclamation “urges all residents to become aware of the dangers of, and link between, opioid abuse and heroin addiction, and to work with community leaders and educators in an effort to raise awareness of this deadly epidemic and to join together in an effort to eradicate this ever-growing menace to our society.”
Lawrence Township resident Ellen Maak accepted the proclamation from Mayor Christopher Bobbitt and the Lawrence Township Council at its Sept. 17 meeting.
“I’m just a regular citizen. This is a new and interesting way to address the problem,” Maak told the Lawrence Township Council as she accepted the proclamation.
Maak said her son was watching a sports game on television and she pointed to the sports fans in the stadium. That’s how many people died from a drug overdose, she told her son as a way to emphasize the seriousness of opioid abuse.
Mayor Bobbitt said it is important to keep the issue of opioid abuse at the forefront, and to try to stem opioid abuse and the pain and suffering that accompanies addiction.
“I, along with many others in Lawrence Township, know someone who became sadly addicted or who sadly overdosed on opioids,” Mayor Bobbitt said.