The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey initiative brings families and communities into conversation on how to tackle opioid addiction

Hundreds of local prevention and treatment organizations, as well as local and county law enforcement, government and medical community leaders, are coming together in a series of open forums to help prevent opioid abuse and to learn and share best practices for helping those addicted. The effort, funded by a $250,000 grant from the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey to the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, features a series of 17 “Knock Out Opioid Abuse” town halls that are taking place over the next 18 months in communities heavily impacted by opioid crisis.

“Stopping opioid abuse requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted effort to improve public awareness about the threat of addiction and to develop best practices for treatment and prevention,” said Robert A. Marino, Horizon BCBSNJ Chairman & CEO and The Horizon Foundation Board Chairman. “Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has been a leader in the fight against drug abuse and Horizon is pleased to join them in getting everyone in the conversation on real solutions and pathways to help in the community. It’s critical to engage multiple stake holders in the whole continuum of care, starting from awareness of opioids addiction, to prevention and treatment.”

The goals of the town hall meetings are to provide residents an opportunity to more fully understand the impact this national epidemic is having on their own communities; the local, county and state resources and initiatives available to them; as well as an opportunity to highlight exemplary local programs that can be replicated throughout the state. The town halls are being planned in those counties most heavily impacted by the epidemic with special attention given to 45 towns with the most reported abuse cases. The first town hall was held in April at Stockton University in Galloway Township, and was co-sponsored by the university, the Atlantic County Opiate Task Force and Join Together Atlantic County.

A dedicated website, http://knockoutopioidabuse.drugfreenj.org/ has been created to provide a full schedule of countywide tow
n hall meetings and registration information.

Since 2015, Horizon has paid over $315 million in claims related to substance abuse. In 2016, alone, Horizon paid $150.6 million in claims, $54.2 million of which was used to treat opioid addiction. For nearly 20 years, the company has partnered with the doctors, social workers, hospitals, pharmacists, educational institutions and community organizations on fighting opioid addiction in diverse, integrated and comprehensive ways.

About the Foundation:
The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is committed to working alongside those who can help us improve our neighbors’ health, inform their health decisions and inspire them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. The Foundation’s funding pillars are Caring, Connecting and Creating. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the sole member of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, both of which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information please visit www.Horizonblue.com/Foundation

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Published on: May 10, 2017, 15:59 PM ET
Last updated on: May 10, 2017, 16:02 PM ET