To the Editor:
Too many of our friends, family members and neighbors are dying unnecessarily.
I am writing to urge all New Jerseyans to take action and help stop the opioid overdose crisis. In New Jersey alone we lose 10-plus people per day. Since the pandemic started, we’ve seen an increase of nearly 20 percent in overdose deaths from the previous year. It is not getting any better. It is getting much worse.
For far too long drug companies, like Purdue Pharma and Johnson & Johnson, along with their lobbyists, have played a key role in fueling the overdose crisis. They falsely advertised Oxycontin as safe and non-addictive and bribed doctors to overprescribe it. Purdue Pharma made $1.6 billion a year off the sale of Oxycontin alone between 1996 and 2003. Even when they knew drugs like Oxycontin were harmful, they covered this up and continued to value money over people.
It’s time to hold these companies accountable for their actions. That’s why we, at the New Jersey Organizing Project, are working to pass an opioid profits assessment here in New Jersey. This would ensure that a portion of the profits made from these drugs goes directly to overdose prevention, expanding access to lifesaving services and treatments New Jerseyans so desperately need.
Our legislators will vote on the revised state budget for fiscal year 2021. We urge you to send a letter to your state legislators. I am calling on my state representatives to support an opioid profits assessment in the budget.
I would also like to call on all local government officials all over New Jersey to use their voices and put pressure on the state to ensure no more of their constituents pass away due to a preventable overdose.
Please join us to help end this crisis. You can learn more at opens in a new windownewjerseyop.org. We can do this together.
Long Beach Township