Public Awareness and Education
Community in Conversation Community Assessment: 2021 Findings
Community in Conversation is the first comprehensive assessment of current substance use social norms, attitudes, and levels of young adult substance use in the Somerset Hills. 350 parents, young people, teachers, and leaders in the Somerset Hills volunteered to participate in the assessment, which will allow us to respond to emerging substance use trends. Community in Conversation illuminated strengths and protective factors in the Somerset Hills, but also revealed opportunities for growth. A snapshot is shown in our infographic to the right. The full report is also available for download below.
The first step in prevention is educating the public about the magnitude of the impact of the opioid epidemic in every segment of our local community, the all-too-common pills-to-heroin pathway to addiction, and addiction as a disease requiring long-term treatment and community understanding.
Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day
In NJ, October 6 has been designated Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day (KOOAD) that the Partnership for a Drug Free NJ created and pioneered in 2016. It’s a day to raise awareness about the dangers of abuse and misuse of Rx pills on a local, grassroots level. In Somerset Hills, Girl Scouts and high school students from Ridge Against Alcohol and Drugs teamed up to distribute Partnership for Drug Free New Jersey’s Knock Out Opioid Abuse Day (KOOAD) door hangers in neighborhoods and in the halls of the high school, with recognition from Congressman Leonard Lance. A boxing event among young adults was held to raise awareness of the disease of addiction and much-needed funding.
Town Halls, featuring experts from law enforcement, addiction counselors, lawmakers and individuals affected by opioid abuse, serve to inform the public about the extent of the opioid epidemic and the slippery slope from prescription pain killers to heroin.
Information tables at public events help educate the public about addiction as a disease and the importance of safeguarding medications.