Mercer Council News
Volunteers Sought For “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day” October 6th
Volunteers are needed to participate in a “feet on the ground” grass roots effort to educate medical professionals and the public on the dangers of opiate abuse during a statewide initiative on October 6th called “Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day.”
“This statewide event is geared to educating medical professionals about the opiate addiction epidemic and what solutions are available,” said Barbara Sprechman, a coalition coordinator for Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.
Sprechman said volunteers will be visiting doctors’ and dentists’ offices to promote the Centers for Disease Control guidelines about how medical professionals can safely prescribe opiate-based drugs.
“Whenever possible, medical professionals should be encouraging their patients to start with over-the counter pain medications to relieve their symptoms before prescribing opiate-based drugs. Rather than prescribing 40 Percocet after wisdom teeth extraction, tell them to try Advil and prescribe only two or three pills. Adolescents who are prescribed opioid pain killers are more prone to addiction later in life.”
If a teenager is prescribed opiate drugs before high school graduation, it raises the risk of future opioid abuse by 33 percent, according to the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey. The organization also stated that in 2012, health care professionals wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain relievers, which is enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.
Sprechman said that the October 6th event is a grass roots effort to bring awareness of the opiate addiction, with people going door-to-door to medical offices around the county and also throughout the community. “We want volunteers to collect the informational materials and then distribute them in their neighborhoods, their local gyms, everywhere!”