Opioid drug overdoses have become a growing crisis, both in New Jersey and nationwide. So Rutgers pharmacy students, faculty and clinicians have created an opioid abuse toolkit to help New Jersey communities combat the deadly problem for free.

Dr. Saira Jan, clinical professor at Rutgers University and the director of Pharmacy Strategy and Clinical Integration at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, is one of the brains behind this toolkit.

She says the toolkit is something that a person in the community can take and educate people and increase awareness in their neighborhood or on social media.

The opioid abuse toolkit includes a step-by-step guide to plan and execute various community initiatives and provides resources for those struggling with opioid addiction disorders and marijuana abuse.

Jan says the toolkit is free for anyone who is interested in receiving it and includes a compilation of best practices to plan and execute various initiatives tailored to a community.

"There are a lot of posters that have been developed that can be put in the dorms and pharmacies and retail — anywhere you want to increase awareness."

These supplemental posters and presentations are adaptable to your needs covering topics such as increasing awareness through social media, how to administer naloxone in cases of overdose, advertising for drug take-back days and more.

There will be a poster session on Rutgers Research Day, April 18,  where the components will be presented.

There's information for parents on helping them identify the signs and symptoms of drug abuse and what conversations they should be having with their children.

Jan also makes it clear that this toolkit continues to be updated.

The toolkit has been sent to all colleges and universities in the Garden State. She says they are trying to reach all the high schools and middle schools and they've shared the toolkit with the Governor's Office.

You can find the opioid abuse toolkit on the Rutgers pharmacy school website at http://pharmacy.rutgers.edu/content/opioid_abuse_toolkit.

Jan says while you may excerpt materials as you choose, you may not modify the text without prior written permission of Rutgers or the listed copyright holder.

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