Fentanyl, seniors and pills among topics planned in 2023 learning series


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The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) has wrapped up a successful 2022 Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day Learning Series and will renew its partnership with the Office of the New Jersey Coordinator of Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (NJ CARES) to host the webinar series in 2023 along with the Opioid Education Foundation of America.

“The Opioid Education Foundation of America is dedicated to providing learning opportunities for our medical practitioners,” said Elaine Pozycki, CEO of the Opioid Education Foundation of America. “It is only together and with education that we can best address the opioid crisis.”

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The Learning Series will kick off on Jan. 26 with the webinar “From Pills to Fentanyl: Understanding the Opioid Crisis” featuring Dr. Lewis S. Nelson, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Nelson will provide a greater understanding of the opioid crisis in New Jersey and what challenges lie ahead, according to a press release.

PDFNJ, the Opioid Foundation of America and NJ CARES, which is responsible for overseeing addiction-fighting efforts across the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, have planned to address wide-ranging topics concerning the opioid epidemic in the 2023 Learning Series, including educating families about opioids and opioid alternatives for youths through seniors, the rising fentanyl crisis, evidence-based programs for addiction prevention, treatment and recovery, and other trends impacting New Jersey, according to the press release.

“The Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day Learning Series is a trusted resource for New Jersey residents to learn more about the opioid crisis and educate themselves on how to make a difference in the fight against the epidemic,” PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente said. “We are grateful for our continued collaboration with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, which has been an invaluable partner in planning the series.”

The Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day Learning Series began in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to educate New Jersey residents about various aspects of the opioid epidemic and its impact on New Jersey and the nation, according to the press release.

The series is a branch of PDFNJ’s Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day statewide initiative, which has been held annually on Oct. 6 since 2016 to educate residents and prescribers about the risks of prescription opioids and to raise awareness of the opioid crisis throughout the state.

The 2022 Learning Series included 12 webinars that drew a total audience of more than 8,000 participants and featured speakers discussing all aspects of the opioid epidemic, including Sam Quinones, Author of “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic,” Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Medical Director of Opioid Policy Research, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey.

In 2021, more than 3,000 people in New Jersey died from suspected drug overdoses, a vast majority of which involved some form of opioid including prescription painkillers, heroin and synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, according to the press release.

To learn more about the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day and for a schedule of next year’s webinars, visit knockoutday.drugfreenj.org.


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