The third annual prescription drug conference, a gathering aimed at fighting heroin abuse in South Jersey will be held this Thursday, Jan. 21 at the Avalon Golf Club, 1510 Route 9 North.

The event is sponsored by Cape Assist and the Cape May County PRIDE Committee, the latter organization founded and funded by the Sea Isle City School Board. The group’s focus is opposing heroin abuse.

The event, for community leaders and educators in Cape May County, is presented by Cape Assist and the Cape May County PRIDE Committee. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are required.

By partnering with Cape Assist, the group strengthened its community-based approach to creating awareness and educating people on the dangers of prescription drugs.

Data from the CDC, New Jersey Department of Criminal Justice shows that the heroin overdose death rate in New Jersey is more than triple the national rate and now eclipses homicide, suicide, car accidents and AIDS as a cause of death in the state.

In Camden and Atlantic counties, heroin kills more people annually than the flu and pneumonia combined, state Department of Health data show.

While many communities are just acknowledging that heroin use is a problem, the Cape May County Pride committee is taking action by creating awareness, and educating young people, parents and the community.

The Cape Assist organization is a non-profit agency, and has served the county for more than 30 years. Cape Assist promotes health and wellness in the community, implementing research-based services to seniors, schools, businesses, and organizations, all structured to enrich families and build healthy communities.

For more information, call 609-522-5960 or see www.capeassist.org.

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