MILLBURN, N.J., April 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As New Jersey, the nation and the world continue to face the difficulties and tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey are continuing the conversation on the national opioid crisis affecting millions of Americans.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the Medical Director of Opioid Policy Research at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management, will share his expert knowledge on the opioid epidemic in "COVID-19 Pandemic: Responding to the Opioid Addiction Epidemic," the second installment of the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Webinar Series, at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 30.
"Dr. Kolodny is one of the nation's top experts on the opioid epidemic and a leader in promoting safe and responsible prescription practices," PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente said. "Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has shut down much of the country, the opioid crisis continues to affect millions of Americans and it is vital that action continues to be taken to address this issue."
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, through its philanthropic arm, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, has been collaborating with PDFNJ on a two-year Knock Out Opioid Abuse initiative to address the opioid epidemic through community outreach, prescriber education, parent education and a statewide awareness campaign.
The Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Series brings experts on the opioid epidemic from various fields, including law enforcement, the medical community, government, prevention, treatment and recovery together for events in communities in all 21 New Jersey counties. PDFNJ and Horizon have expanded the initiative in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering a webinar series to help continue the conversation about the opioid crisis.
In 2019, 3,021 people in New Jersey died from suspected drug overdoses, a vast majority of which involved some form of opioid.
Dr. Kolodny's primary area of focus is the prescription opioid and heroin crisis devastating families and communities across the country. He is also the executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, an organization with a mission to reduce morbidity and mortality caused by overprescribing of opioid analgesics. Dr. Kolodny has received numerous honors for his efforts in the fight against the opioid epidemic, including PDFNJ's Angel of Hope Award in 2019.
"Over the past 25 years, millions of Americans have become addicted to opioids and more than 500,000 have died from opioid-related overdose," Kolodny said. "There are some reasons to be hopeful — the death rate has plateaued, opioid prescribing is trending in a more cautious direction, and access to effective addiction treatment is improving — but we still have a long way to go to bring the opioid addiction epidemic to an end."
Participants can register for the free webinar at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_XnLkcJEOSJCtIOVtE_aStA.
To learn more about the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall Series and to view past town hall events, please visit https://knockoutopioidabuse.drugfreenj.org.
Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey: Best known for its statewide substance use prevention advertising campaign, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey is a private not-for-profit coalition of professionals from the communications, corporate and government communities whose collective mission is to reduce demand for illicit drugs in New Jersey through media communication. To date, more than $100 million in broadcast time and print space has been donated to the Partnership's New Jersey campaign, making it the largest public service advertising campaign in New Jersey's history. Since its inception, the Partnership has garnered 180 advertising and public relations awards from national, regional and statewide media organizations.
About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's oldest and largest health insurer is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, vision and prescription insurance products and services. Horizon BCBSNJ is leading the transformation of health care in New Jersey by working with doctors and hospitals to deliver innovative, patient-centered programs that reward the quality, not quantity, of care patients receive. Learn more at www.HorizonBlue.com. Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association serving more than 3.4 million members.
About The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey: The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is committed to working alongside those who can help us improve our neighbors' health, inform their health decisions and inspire them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. The Foundation's funding pillars are Caring, Connecting and Creating. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the sole member of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, both of which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, please visit www.Horizonblue.com/Foundation.
SOURCE Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey