The Freeholder Board and the Addiction Awareness Task Force have created a website aimed at assisting the public with the fight against opiate addiction.
The website, addictions.camdencounty.com, helps to educate residents on the resources available to prevent and treat addiction. Additionally, the site provides a downloadable addiction prevention toolkit for community partners such as schools and civic organizations to utilize in their own prevention programs.
“This is a community problem, and as a task force we want to support the efforts of groups already doing great work in preventing drug abuse among our residents,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, who spearheaded efforts in forming the task force last May. “The Addiction Awareness Tool Kit was the next step in our awareness and prevention efforts.”
The task force is made up of students, parents, teachers, healthcare providers, law enforcement and civic leaders. The mission of the task force is to increase awareness among county residents of heroin and prescription drug abuse and the devastating effects addiction has on our community. In addition to raising awareness, the initial goals of the task force include supporting programs that further reduce demand, including the expansion of prescription drop boxes, working with healthcare providers to implement educational programs, and creating and advocating for increased treatment options.
Earlier this year, the task force hosted a community summit with a turnout of over 700 residents, many of whom were desperate to help their loved ones, but also residents who wanted to get involved in helping to address the problem in their community. At that event, the county launched an awareness campaign entitled: “HEROIN. PILLS. IT ALL KILLS…what you thought was miles away is right in your backyard.” The campaign includes billboards, awareness events, online and print advertising.
Other initiatives the task force is currently working on include the following:
Heroin and opiates have become a growing public safety and health crisis creating devastating effects on the region, the state and the nation in the last five years. These narcotics are ubiquitous in every community in Camden County and usage is on the rise. New Jersey data shows a steady rise in prescription drug abuse in recent years. There were 8,300 admissions to state-certified substance-abuse treatment programs due to prescription drug abuse in 2012, a 200 percent increase over the previous five years, according to a state report on addiction.
“As a mother, an educator and an elected official, the addiction crisis in Camden County is one of my biggest concerns,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services. “Together, from parents to clergy, and every stakeholder in the county, we must unite to educate and treat this life threatening epidemic.”
You can visit the Addiction Awareness Task Force’s website at addictions.camdencounty.com or follow them on Facebook (facebook.com/AddictionAwarenessTaskForce) and Twitter (@CamCoAddiction).
If you or a loved one needs help please call our 24/7 toll-free confidential hotline for addiction help at 877-266-8222 or call 911 in the event of an emergency.