By Eileen Palazza
In the time that it takes you to read this article another person in New Jersey will die from an opioid overdose. And then another and then another. As mothers and fathers, wives, husbands, sisters and brothers stand by and are helpless to prevent the death of their loved ones, drug corporations continue to manufacture and distribute opioids in this country. This is an epidemic that was ravaging the American public prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the Coronavirus is also claiming thousands of American lives. Our government has mobilized in response to COVID-19 to stop the dramatic loss of life.
But, what is the country doing to stop the opioid overdose crisis? Since 2018 we’ve lost over 140,000 people to the overdose crisis nationwide. My son Ryan was one of them. All of those who have died in this crisis were loved, had a purpose, have families, and are gone forever. What new measures are being put into place to help those suffering with the disease of addiction? What medical services are being offered in order to prevent overdoses from occurring? What kinds of mental health interventions are available to people who are struggling, who do not want to relapse but need help battling the disease that afflicts them? For too long, people who are struggling with addiction have been underserved. And now in this pandemic, they continue to be underserved. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of overdose deaths in NJ have risen by 20% this year compared to last year.
We need your help. What if, in this moment of crisis, the wildly profitable Pharmaceutical companies could be the source of revenue for desperately needed programs to save the lives of people struggling with the disease of addiction? We are fighting for an Opioid Profits Tax – which is a tax on the profits that Big Pharma made from the sale of opioids that destroyed our communities – it’s time that they set things right. Governor Murphy must propose his state budget for 2021 by the end of August of this year and we’re pushing for him to include this tax in it.
Pharmaceutical companies need to be held accountable for the damage that they have inflicted on Americans, and the institution of an Opioid Profits Tax would serve that purpose. These millions of dollars are needed NOW to provide critically needed services to people suffering with addiction, a disease that is just as deadly as the COVID-19 virus. NJOP is concentrating its efforts on meeting with our State representatives from several New Jersey districts to lobby for the Opioid Profits Tax to make it become a reality in the proposed budget for this state.
The clock keeps ticking.
And now you have come to the end of this article. And there has been one more overdose death that has occurred in New Jersey.
Click here to sign and share our petition to win an Opioid Profits Tax
Thanks for all you do,
Eileen Palazza for New Jersey Organizing Project
P.S. Need Narcan/Naloxone? Click here for information about where to get it at low or no cost. Scroll down to the bottom of the FAQ.