NJ Opioid Awareness and Prevention Initiative

Opioids are a class of drugs that include both prescription pain relief medications and illegal drugs. Codeine, Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, fentanyl, and heroin are names of some of the more commonly known opioids. Prescription opioids can be safe when taken under the supervision of a doctor for short-term pain relief. However, regular use of these drugs can be habit-forming. Taking them in higher doses, more frequently, or for longer periods of time than prescribed can lead to dependence. Users who are dependent on these medications can progress to using related illegal drugs when they can no longer get the prescription versions. 

Addiction to these and other forms of the drugs has reached epidemic proportions throughout New Jersey and across our nation.  The number of overdose deaths due to opioids nationally is six times as high as it was in 2002- nearly 33,000 Americans died as a result of opioid overdose in 2015. The opioid crisis is a major public health threat that is claiming the lives of neighbors and families.

How serious is this issue in New Jersey?

According to data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1,454 New Jersey residents died of a drug overdose in 2015. The majority of these overdoses were opioid-related deaths.

Under the New Jersey State Department of Health’s Opioid Awareness and Prevention Initiative, the Partnership is providing education and resources to faith-based leaders, community, and consumer groups. The goal of this statewide campaign is to help prevent more fatalities in our communities.

If you would like the Partnership to bring an educational program to your organization or group, please call 201-876-8900 extension 247.

 The Initiative goals include:

  • Increase statewide awareness of faith and community leaders about the opioid epidemic by providing educational opportunities that create understanding and encourage compassion. We will use and distribute the Opioid Epidemic Practical Toolkit developed the Health and Human Services Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
  • Build statewide public health community capacity by offering professionals and paraprofessionals resources to screen, provide brief intervention and referrals to people with opioid use disorders and those at risk of developing these disorders. For this objective, we will use the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) model.
  • Educate the public about opioid awareness and prevention through social media and web-based outreach campaigns.
  • Collaborate with statewide Perinatal Risk Reduction Specialists (RRS) to report progress, updates, and to advance educational opportunities.

In crisis and in need of immediate assistance?  Call or text 9-1-1.

You can also call 1-844-ReachNJ (1-844-732-2465) 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week for help.

Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages to learn more about opioid awareness, prevention, and local resources to assist individuals in crisis.

About the Partnership:

The Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of New Jersey is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) corporation, licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH). Our mission is to improve the health of women, children, and families. The Partnership has 25 years of experience mounting community-based, consumer-friendly and culturally competent educational programs to parents, caregivers, pregnant women and individuals of child-bearing age. For more information, visit, http://partnershipmch.org.

Getting Involved