Overdose does not discriminate. It could be a loved one, a friend, a colleague, or neighbor. Each day, lives are being changed or lost to overdose. This year, in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, community members are invited to get involved to prevent the tragedy of overdose.
Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster will be hosting two information-sharing events to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day. In Sullivan County, Prevention Program staff and other community partners will be at the Sullivan County Government Center (100 North Street, Monticello) on Thursday, August 29, from 11 am to 3 pm. In Orange County, Catholic Charities and Operation PJ Pride will join with the Port Jervis Police Department and others in Veterans Park (1 North Broome Street, Port Jervis) on Friday, August 30, from 12 noon to 2 pm to help people better understand how overdose affects the community and discuss steps that can be taken to make a difference.
Literature, awareness bracelets, and safe disposal tools for medication will be handed out. Narcan training will be available (including the free distribution of Narcan kits to those who have been trained). There will also be opportunities to memorialize loved ones lost to overdose.
In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported drug overdose had killed a record-high 70,000+ Americans. This increased death toll corresponds greatly with the use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl – responsible for increasing overdose deaths by 45%. Overdose deaths now exceed HIV, car crashes, and gun violence deaths at their height.
“This is our opportunity to take a proactive role in helping the community remember and recognize the actual loss of life we have already suffered,” said Dawn Wilkin, Director of Prevention Services, Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster. “International Overdose Awareness Day provides an opportunity for the community to come together to reflect upon, and share, practical ways to prevent overdose within our community. It’s critical to remember that overdose is preventable. Knowing what to do when you see someone experiencing an overdose will save lives,” Wilkin continued.