Commissioners Hold Vigil to Honor International Overdose Awareness Day

Share this:

By Camden County Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli Jr.

On August 31, the Board of Commissioners will gather with the Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force, activists, healthcare providers and residents to honor International Overdose Awareness Day at the county’s Remembrance and Hope Memorial. 

International Overdose Awareness Day is an annual campaign aimed at ending overdose, remembering those who have died without stigma or judgement and acknowledging the pain of the loved ones left behind.

Substance abuse is a disease that knows no bounds and it can impact anyone no matter your age, race, gender or income. Each year, on this date, we gather to honor those who were lost to this evil affliction and to show solidarity and support the family and friends of those who have had a loved one stolen by addiction.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 110,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2022, 75,000 of which were attributed to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. In New Jersey, nearly 2,892 people died of suspected drug overdoses, a drop from 3,124 in 2021. 

So far this year, more than 1,500 New Jerseyans have died of suspected drug overdoses between Jan. 1 and July 31, 2023. In Camden County, 198 deaths attributed to suspected drug overdoses have been recorded.  

We have worked tirelessly to create programs and initiatives to help combat the devastating issues of opioid use disorder and overdose here in Camden County.

In March, we announced a series of programs, funded by the state’s opioid litigation settlement, that are being implemented through the county’s Office of Addiction and Mental Health. These include:

·      A mobile Buprenorphine pilot program where medically assisted treatment will be dispensed from an outreach van. 

·      The distribution of take-home kits of Naloxone to overdose and substance use disorder patients treated in countywide emergency departments.

·      Providing Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education (NOPE) in High Schools and Middle.     

·      Increasing advertising and public service announcements about the dangers of opioids and county resources.

Expanding access to Naloxone, an overdose reversal drug better known as Narcan, has also been at the top of our priority list. In just the past year alone, the county has installed Naloxone boxes throughout the county park system and every public school from Camden to Winslow Township. And with the state’s new Naloxone365 program, that allows anyone over the age of 14 to anonymously acquire free Naloxone from participating pharmacies, access to this necessary tool is becoming more widespread and in turn, more lives are being saved. 

Too many innocent lives have been lost or altered due to these insidious issues and we will stop at nothing to change the future of addiction and overdose in Camden County.

Anyone seeking addiction assistance should call 1-844-ReachNJ (732-2465.) If you are a Camden County resident suffering from substance abuse disorder, please call the Office of Mental Health and Addiction at (856) 374-6361.