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The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey initiative brings families and communities into conversation on how to tackle opioid addiction

Hundreds of local prevention and treatment organizations, as well as local and county law enforcement, government and medical community leaders, are coming together in a series of open forums to help prevent opioid abuse and to learn and share best practices for helping those addicted. The effort, funded by a $250,000 grant from the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey to the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, features a series of 17 “Knock Out Opioid Abuse” town halls that are taking place over the next 18 months in communities heavily impacted by opioid crisis.

“Stopping opioid abuse requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted effort to improve public awareness about the threat of addiction and to develop best practices for treatment and prevention,” said Robert A. Marino, Horizon BCBSNJ Chairman & CEO and The Horizon Foundation Board Chairman. “Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey has been a leader in the fight against drug abuse and Horizon is pleased to join them in getting everyone in the conversation on real solutions and pathways to help in the community. It’s critical to engage multiple stake holders in the whole continuum of care, starting from awareness of opioids addiction, to prevention and treatment.”

The goals of the town hall meetings are to provide residents an opportunity to more fully understand the impact this national epidemic is having on their own communities; the local, county and state resources and initiatives available to them; as well as an opportunity to highlight exemplary local programs that can be replicated throughout the state. The town halls are being planned in those counties most heavily impacted by the epidemic with special attention given to 45 towns with the most reported abuse cases. The first town hall was held in April at Stockton University in Galloway Township, and was co-sponsored by the university, the Atlantic County Opiate Task Force and Join Together Atlantic County.

A dedicated website, http://knockoutopioidabuse.drugfreenj.org/ has been created to provide a full schedule of countywide town hall meetings and registration information.

Since 2015, Horizon has paid over $315 million in claims related to substance abuse. In 2016, alone, Horizon paid $150.6 million in claims, $54.2 million of which was used to treat opioid addiction. For nearly 20 years, the company has partnered with the doctors, social workers, hospitals, pharmacists, educational institutions and community organizations on fighting opioid addiction in diverse, integrated and comprehensive ways.

About the Foundation

About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's oldest and largest health insurer is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, vision and prescription insurance products and services. Horizon BCBSNJ is leading the transformation of health care in New Jersey by working with doctors and hospitals to deliver innovative, patient-centered programs that reward the quality, not quantity, of care patients receive. Learn more at www.HorizonBlue.com. Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association serving more than 3.8 million members.