News Department

Warren County observes International Overdose Awareness Day

WARREN COUNTY, NJ – Warren County joined communities around the world that come together Tuesday to remember those who have died or suffered permanent injury due to drug overdose.

Observed on August 31 each year, International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) seeks to foster better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use.

“International Overdose Awareness Day is an important reminder of the impact addiction has in our community and the importance of speaking about this disease,” Commissioner Director James R. Kern III said. “Only when we talk about addiction as a community, can we help eliminate the stigma associated with it.”

So far this year, Warren County has had approximately 40 Naloxone (Narcan) reversals reported through the NJ Department of Health data dashboard, which reflects Law Enforcement and EMS Narcan interactions. Naloxone also is available as a standing order at 26 pharmacies throughout Warren County – in Allamuchy, Belvidere, Blairstown, Hackettstown, Phillipsburg and Washington – for county residents to purchase for themselves or a loved one. Some insurance plans may cover the cost of the prescription.

There also have been 13 suspected drug overdoses in 2021 as of July 31, following 36 in 2020 and 20 in 2019.

Warren County is committed to the prevention of overdoses through the creation of the Warren County Overdose Fatality Review Team (OFRT). Through a collaboration of service providers, stakeholders, residents and county agencies, the team has already reviewed more than 26 overdose cases to determine if there were any gaps in services that are not available to individuals and their families in order to prevent an overdose. Recommendations as to policy and system changes are being developed and will be pushed to the highest level for the purpose of increasing and expanding resources, leveraging additional funding and working diligently on cross collaboration with the public, law enforcement, prevention/treatment/recovery, human and health care systems, education and medical professionals. The OFRT is reviewing all overdose death cases for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

“As the co-founder of the Addiction Task Force and a member of the Overdose Fatality Review Team, I know how pervasive and damaging this epidemic is in our society. I pledge to continue to support programs that end the stigma of addiction and help people find the resources they need to help break the cycle of addiction that leads to overdose deaths,” County Commissioner Jason J. Sarnoski said.

“As a community we must continue to bring awareness to the addiction issues in our county,” County Commissioner Lori Ciesla said. “COVID-19 has only made it more difficult to fight addiction so we all must work even harder. I thank everyone in the county who is helping us in this fight, and we will support you in whatever ways we are able.”

“While we often look at numbers to provide guidance on how to plan and support area programming to assist those seeking treatment, the Department of Human Services and County leadership recognize that the data represents a person and their family,” said Laura Richter, Associate Director of Human Services.

Warren County has available resources for individuals struggling with an addiction. Please reach out to the Department of Human Services at 908-475-6331 for more information, or for 24/7 support contact ReachNJ at 1-844-732-2465.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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