Partnership for Drug-Free Kids Brings Life-Saving Kits and Training to New Jersey Families

~ Nonprofit acts to equip local Morris County family members with free Naloxone Kits, tools, materials and support to prevent additional overdose deaths ~

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – April 27, 2015 – Together with its parent partners and the Community Coalition for a Safe & Healthy Morris (CCSHM), an initiative of Morris County Prevention is Key (MCPIK), the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids this week launched a first-of-its-kind community effort to address the heroin/opiate crisis in Morris County, New Jersey.

Volunteer Parent Coaches from the Partnership, Pat Aussem, Master Addictions Counselor, and Denise Mariano, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence NJ (NCADD-NJ) Advocate, will provide training and free Naloxone kits – an opioid antagonist with no potential for abuse that reverses respiratory failure in overdoses associated with opiate use – equipping family members with the knowledge and materials they need in order to immediately respond to and reverse an overdose should one occur. The initiative is part of the Partnership’s Medicine Abuse Project, a five-year effort to prevent half a million teens from abusing drugs by the year 2017.

Under the banner of The Morris County Naloxone Initiative, the Partnership’s services and tools will be shared with families in educational sessions throughout the spring. “Our intent is to empower families with the necessary information and tools to help get their loved ones struggling with opiate use into treatment, in addition to providing Naloxone to prevent deaths from overdose. This is especially important because those who have experienced an opioid overdose in the past are four to five times more likely to overdose again in the future,” said Pat Aussem, a Partnership Parent Coach. “We want to save lives, and we also want to give families a sense of hope.”

“With 113 fatal overdose deaths per day in the United States, and nearly 30,000 hospital admissions in 2014 for prescription drug abuse in New Jersey alone, the power lies with family members of those who are at risk of an overdose to prevent additional deaths,” said Marcia Lee Taylor, Interim President and CEO, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “The numbers are rising rapidly. We must act now in order to save more lives. With the right training, families can take the first step toward bringing these numbers down.”

The sessions, which will be held at the Center for Addiction Recovery Education and Success (CARES) in Rockaway, NJ and at various treatment centers, are targeted toward families who have a loved one either currently abusing opiates/heroin or in early remission. At the informational sessions, families will learn about the nature of addiction; when and why overdoses occur; the warning signs for an overdose; how to differentiate between someone who is under the influence and someone who is overdosing; when and how to administerNaloxone. The Naloxone kits provided to individuals who attend the trainings will include the nasal form of the drug, with two atomizers, a rescue breathing face mask and comprehensive instructions.

To learn more about the Medicine Abuse Project and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, visit drugfree.org.

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