National Recovery Month promotes drug abuse prevention, treatment

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Saturday marked the start of National Recovery Month, which promotes awareness about the prevention, treatment, and recovery services for those suffering through substance abuse.

According to the CDC, New Jersey is 19th in the nation for opioid overdose deaths and ranked sixth in the nation for the highest rate of visits to the emergency room due to abuse or overdose.

To combat the epidemic, state officials and prevention organizations say they're changing the way they treat the addiction. That plan involves focusing more on getting victims help to survive the disease.

“The opioid epidemic is tearing apart people's lives. People are losing their jobs, they're losing their homes, they're losing their families, their children, their friends, and sometimes…they're losing their lives," says Angela Conover, of Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey.

Conover says addiction is a disease that impacts the way the brain functions. 

As opioid abuse has surged in recent years, conversations about addiction have moved out of the shadows. But there are still those addicts who not only suffer the stigma of the disease, but also the shame and humiliation of admitting to it. 

The New Jersey Office of the State Medical Examiner revealed that nearly 1,970 people died from drug overdoses so far this year. 

Last year, Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation that requires insurance companies to cover up to six months of in-patient drug treatment. The law also limits doctors to no more than a five-day supply of opioids that can be prescribed to a patient.

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