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).
How Medication for Opioid Use Disorder Saves Lives
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
Discover more ways to prevent overdose
- International Overdose Awareness Day website
- Resources for finding Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) and staying in MOUD
- The Healing Communities Study New York website
- SIG's wrap-up from last year
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