Knock Out Opiate Abuse Day is a state-wide campaign to help raise awareness of the potential for dependency on prescribed pain medicine and its link to heroin abuse rates in our state. As part of this campaign, the Municipal Alliance distributed opiate information to all employees, Municipal Staff distributed sign tags to residents seeking municipal services, and sign tags were available at the Township Recreation Centers.  The sign tags include an opioid abuse prevention public service announcement with information on the link between prescribed opioids and heroin abuse.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, opioid pain relievers that are abused were most often obtained via prescription from physicians, and users of prescription drugs are 40 times more likely to use heroin. More than 33,000 people in the United States died of opioid overdoses in 2015, and the number of such deaths quadrupled from 1999 to 2015. Among new heroin users, approximately three out of four report having abused prescription opioids prior to using heroin.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, legitimate opioid use before high school graduation is independently associated with a 33 percent increase in the risk of future opioid misuse after high school. Use of prescribed opioids before the 12th grade is independently associated with future opioid misuse among patients with little drug experience and who disapprove of illegal drug use.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 33,000 people in the United States died of opioid overdoses in 2015, and the number of such deaths quadrupled from 1999 to 2015. In that same period, the amount of prescription opioids in America have quadrupled as well. Past misuse of prescription opioids is the strongest risk factor for starting heroin use – especially among people who became dependent upon or abused prescription opioids in the past year. This indicates that the transition from prescription opioid non-medical use to heroin use may be part of the progression to addiction. Among new heroin users, approximately three out of four report having abused prescription opioids prior to using heroin. Increased availability, relatively low price (compared to prescription opioids), and high purity of heroin in the U.S. also have been identified as possible factors in the rising rate of heroin use.

New Jersey Addiction Services Hotline is toll-free and available 24 hours a day, 7days a week:

1-844-276-2777

The campaign is sponsored by The Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey in cooperation with the Governor’s Council for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and the NJ Department of Human Services Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.