A heavyweight duo is getting back in the ring for another round of "Knock Out Opioid Abuse" town halls across the Garden State.

On the heels of more than two dozen similar events over the past couple years, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey have announced plans to gather advocates, officials and residents in every county once again, to discuss ways to combat New Jersey's opioid epidemic.

"We'll be visiting one community and focusing on one community in each one of the 21 counties, to really understand how a local community can have an impact on the opioid epidemic," said PDFNJ Executive Director Angelo Valente.

A special summit on March 27 in Newark will serve as the launching point for the new two-year effort, featuring experts, leaders and policymakers who are addressing the opioid crisis on a national and state level.

Valente said the summit serves as an opportunity to identify available resources that can be applied to the local level.

March 27 will also welcome a revamped campaign website, equipped with information on parent education, an online continuing medical education program for prescribers, and the ability for individuals to live-stream town halls.

Currently, the only town hall listed is scheduled for April 9 at Robbinsville Senior Center. Individuals should register to reserve a spot.

"Horizon looks forward to continuing the statewide conversation on how to combat the larger opioid epidemic and applying what we learned from the first round of town halls to actionable steps that connect people to localized services and solutions," said Jonathan R. Pearson, executive director of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.

At each town hall, Pearson said, resources such as naloxone (opioid antidote) training and information on safe prescription disposal will be available to attendees.

Over 13,000 New Jerseyans attended a town hall during the last series of events, according to Valente.

More than 3,000 individuals in 2018 died of a drug overdose in New Jersey.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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