New York Takes Action for International Overdose Awareness Day

Eleni Vlachos
August 26, 2021

Several counties part of HEALing Communities Study as well as New York State are commemorating International Overdose Awareness Day with events and activities both to educate the public on the crisis and give each community member actionable steps to address it.

Each year, the International Overdose Awareness Day campaign launches to “end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.” The campaign also aims to create dialogue around evidence-based overdose prevention as well as impact drug policy. 

 One major goal of the HEALing Communities Study (HCS) is to reduce overdose deaths by 40% within three year. The study has launched several campaigns to do so, including one to fast-track Naloxone, another to reduce stigma, and most recently, a campaign to encourage people to stay in the life-saving MOUD (medication for opioid use disorder).

Several counties part of HCS as well as New York State are commemorating International Overdose Awareness Day with events and activities both to educate the public on the crisis and give each community member actionable steps to address it.

James with quote from text

James David, the Senior Project Director of HCS, shared how much the day means to he and his team: 

“Many of us at the HEALing Communities Study have a personal connection to the opioid crisis and each of us is proud to stand with our HCS counties and community partners on Overdose Awareness Day and every day of the year as they work to reduce overdose deaths by 40 percent.  

By carrying naloxone, we know that every person, whether part of the study or not, has the potential to be a first responder to an opioid overdose and save a life.”

Below, a compilation of events and activities follow.  We invite the SIG community to explore these events and share them widely within your networks.


Suffolk County

Thrive flyer

August 31st at 10:30 am

Thrive Prevention & Awareness Day

Thrive, an organization with a member who is part of the HCS Suffolk County Advisory Board, is hosting a prevention and awareness day to honor the lives of friends and family members lost to the opioid epidemic.  

Distribution of Harm Reduction Resources

August 31st 

Suffolk County will also be distributing 5,000 palm cards at a very targeted location: Mastic/Shirley, one of the communities with the highest incidence of overdose. The distribution will be at the toll booths of the popular Smith Point Beach. In fact, the average daily visits in summer months is around 1,100 vehicles daily, with an estimated 3,850 people.

suffolk flyer

Naloxone Training

August 31 at 12:00 pm

An HCS advisory board member in Suffolk is holding a Naloxone training event. The Horizons Counseling and Education Center and St. Catherine's of Siena Hospital will be hosting the training in Smithtown. Space is limited, register here.

Putnam County

putnam county flyer

August 31st at 7:00 pm

Putnam will be hosting an overdose awareness event, handing out tote bags and coffee cup sleeves with messaging including the power of Narcan and staying on medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD).  

Cayuga County

graveyard with people and sign heroin kills

August 28th at 12:00 pm

Cayuga county’s local heroin epidemic awareness league is sharing their annual stark reminder to create awareness about the impact of overdoes. Read more and join the event here.

Last year, Cayuga’s event was covered in the media here


New York State Department of Health 

September 9th, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm (virtual)

This virtual event is organized by the New York State Office of Drug User Health in collaboration with several community advocates including Bethany Medley, a doctoral student at CSSW and part of the HEALing Communities Study at SIG. 

Attendees are invited to share personal stories on how overdose has impacted their lives. This event will also include various workshops to hold space for remembrance, processing grief and trauma, as well as provide opportunities for key advocacy interventions to reduce overdose deaths.

Read more about the event and register here.

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