On the lawn in front of the Hazlet Police Station is a sea of 99 mini purple flags. The flags, installed today ahead of Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, stand in memory of the 99 Monmouth County residents who have died of a suspected opioid overdose death between January and the end of June, 2020.
“I hope people slow down and look, and I hope they think about how all these lives have been lost needlessly to drugs,” said the coordinator of the Hazlet Alliance, Barbara Hilliard, who planted the flags with the Prevention Coalition of NJ. ”Overdose deaths are preventable.”
Hazlet Township Mayor Mike Glackin read a proclamation at Tuesday’s Township Committee meeting supporting the awareness campaign and asking citizens to reflect on practical ways to prevent overdose in our community.
Sadly, Hilliard expects there will be more tragedy in the months ahead, as residents deal with unemployment, isolation, depression and all the other negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We anticipate, unfortunately, the overdose rate will increase,” she said.
The Hazlet Alliance wants residents to know that stories of addition know no boundaries; it doesn’t matter where you live. That there are Good Samaritan laws to protect anyone who is in the presence of someone who has overdosed. And that help is just a phone call away. “You can recover,” she said.
For help in an emergency, call 911. But if you would like to talk to Barbara Hilliard about your concerns, please leave a message with the Hazlet Alliance at (732)-264-1700 ext. 8693. All calls are confidential. Hazlet Hope Network is also active in the Bayshore, helping addicts connect with services and educating youth. They, along with the Alliance, will participate in a virtual Town Hall on Thursday, Oct. 8 from 7-8pm. All are welcome. Register at KnockOutOpioidAbuse.DrugFreeNj.org
View the The New Jersey Opioid Data Dashboard at NJcares.Gov for Monmouth County-specific data and state resources.