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News & Information

International Overdose Awareness Day

Release Date: July 23, 2020

Overdose Awareness Day Logo

International Overdose Awareness Day - August 31, 2020

The County of Sussex invites you to join us in participating in International Opioid Awareness Day.

According to the most recent World Drug Report 2019 external link, issued by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime:

  • An estimated 585,000 people died as a result of drug use in 2017.
  • Opioids account for the majority of drug-related deaths and in most cases such deaths are avoidable.
  • North America continues to experience the highest drug-related mortality rate in the world, accounting for 1-in-4 drug-related deaths globally.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that 64,070 people in the United States died from overdose in the 12-month period prior to January 2017 (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Provisional Counts of Drug Overdose Deaths, as of 8/6/2017.

The County of Sussex is deeply concerned about the opioid crisis and its impact on residents. The county has instituted an Overdose Fatality Review Team (OFRT) that meets quarterly as one way to address this ongoing problem.

Modeled after a similar program in Maryland, the goal of the Sussex County Overdose Fatality Review Team is to ensure that everything that can be done to prevent overdose deaths in the future is put into place by reviewing fatal overdose cases and looking to see if there were any gaps in the possible interactions with victims.

The team develops data to assist in making recommendations for improvement, considers policy changes, and identifies opportunities to provide services missed or anything that may help prevent another person's fatal overdose. Sussex County is one of several counties in New Jersey with an OFRT and the first to conduct a review through a secure virtual meeting.

The County of Sussex continues to seek ways to prevent drug and alcohol addiction through programs, grants, and Municipal Alliance initiatives. If you are interested in participating in your local Municipal Alliance, please contact Nick Loizzi at the Sussex County Office of Substance Abuse and Alcohol Services by calling (973) 940-5200, ext. 1383 or via email at nloizzi@sussex.nj.us.

During the week leading up to August 31, the county will post resources on social media to support International Overdose Awareness Day. Please join us to educate yourself and others on this ongoing problem.