New Jersey Senate passes Overdose Awareness Day bill

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The New Jersey Senate passed a bill Thursday that would designate every Aug. 31 as Overdose Awareness Day.

Under the bill, New Jersey’s governor would issue a proclamation calling on public officials and residents to observe the day with appropriate activities and programs. He or she also would order flags flown at half-staff on Aug. 31

“Every day, the battle against substance abuse disorder and opioid-related death continues in this state and across the nation,” N.J. State Sen. Anthony M. Bucco (R-Morris County), who sponsored the bill, said. “Information can be empowering to those who often feel helpless against this deadly disease. Establishing this meaningful day will honor the lives of those lost to addiction for years to come and hopefully save many more from the grasp of drugs. Elected officials on both sides of the aisle must work together now more than ever to increase awareness and remove the stigma surrounding addiction.”

Overdose deaths in New Jersey have skyrocketed by more than 20 percent during the coronavirus pandemic, according to The (Bergen) Record.

The increase is a cry for help, Bucco said, and an annual awareness day will help people understand the extent of the opioid crisis and promote public awareness of overdoses.

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