In an effort to bring attention to the devastating impact of drug overdose in our community, Mayor Tara Clark will proclaim August 31, 2021 as International Overdose Awareness Day in Hazlet Township.
"Hazlet Township is not immune. You may have seen it, it has happened to people around you. Tomorrow, it could happen to someone you love. This is not an invisible issue," states the proclamation to be read at the Tuesday, August 17 government meeting.
A mass of purple flags were planted Monday on the front lawn of the Hazlet Police Department, 255 Middle Road, by Hazlet Police and the Prevention Coalition of Monmouth County. There are 51 flags to represent 51 Monmouth residents lost January through March 31, 2021, but sadly the numbers continue to rise. The unofficial number to date is now 84, according to Hazlet Hope's Laura O'Hara.
The goal of the purple flag campaign, which is also supported by Holmdel, Middletown, Red Bank and many other towns in Monmouth County, is to raise awareness, end stigma, honor those whose lives have been lost and celebrate those in recovery. Two local events are planned:
- On Sunday, August 29 there will be an Overdose Awareness Day at Long Branch City Hall, 344 Broadway, Long Branch. The event is 1:30 to 4 pm. The Rain Date is August 30, 5 to 7 pm. There will be guest speakers, personal stories, tributes to loved ones, resources and more. More information at PCofMC.org.
- On Tuesday, August 31, the will be an Overdose Awareness Walk at 3:15 pm at the Tigger House Foundation Headquarters, 93 Shrewsbury Avenue, Red Bank. At 4 pm there will be a Walk to Riverside Gardens Park, 40 W. Front Street in Red Bank. A ceremony will follow at 5 pm at the park with speakers, substance abuse resources and information and a moment of silence to remember those lost to overdose.
Monmouth County's response to the opioid crisis is explained in a July 20 webinar available for viewing. The presenters include Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey and Health Educator Vinny Smith. The hourlong video offers local data, available programs and resources, signs of an overdose and how to administer Narcan.
Hazlet Township's Response
Hazlet Township offers an opportunity for one-on-one counseling every Wednesday known as "ASSIST." A representative of Hazlet's Hope Network is available every Wednesday in the Hazlet Municipal Courtroom for a confidential, supportive session without police interaction. The hours are 10 am to noon. Read news article. Hazlet Police are supportive of Hazlet Hope.
There is also a Project Medicine Drop program. Residents can dispose of prescription medication at any time, on any day by using the drop box in the lobby. In 2020, they collected and disposed of 363 lbs of unused prescription medication.
In its 2020 annual report, Hazlet Police said the patrol division administered Naloxone (Narcan) 27 times to assist those suffering from drug overdoses, up from 22 Narcan Deployments the Patrol Division administer in 2019. Every Patrol officer carries at least one dose of nasal Narcan and it can be administered in seconds. These numbers do not include Narcan administrations by Hazlet First Aid.