More than 33,000 Americans, about 91 a day, died from opioid overdoses in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Morris County is not immune from the growing epidemic as fatal opiate overdoses in the county rose from 43 in 2015 to 64 in 2016. This year, there have been at least 36 overdoses in less than five months, which is a pace that would exceed last year’s total.
The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp is determined to raise awareness of the opioid and heroin epidemic by participating in ongoing public programs.
The next presentation is set for Wednesday, May 24, at 7 p.m. in the Chatham Township Municipal Building, It will be hosted by the Chatham Township Committee.
“By raising public consciousness of this heroin-opioid epidemic, it is our hope to stem the tide of addiction and related deaths,” Knapp said.
The programs are presented by Prosecutor Knapp and Chief Assistant Prosecutor Bradford Seabury, head of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Special Operations Division.
Assistant Prosecutor Seabury details the latest national and local statistics and delves into how illicit drugs are distributed and sold in the United States. He also describes how addiction can start and ways to combat it. The numbers are sobering.
The United States has 4.6 percent of the world’s population, but consumes approximately 80 percent of the world’s opioids. The presentations are valuable for both students and their parents.
The proactive approach of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office coincides with state efforts to combat opioid addiction. A law signed earlier this year by Gov. Chris Christie limits physicians to providing first time patients with only a five-day supply of opioid prescriptions.
The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office has also launched an initiative mandating that individuals revived by the drug, Narcan, which counteracts an opiate overdose, have ready access to a peer recovery specialist who will encourage them to seek treatment. The program is called Narcan 2.0 and is designed to give individuals a second chance at life.
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