North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition Organizes Events for International Overdose Awareness Day (August 31) to Remember Lives Lost and Educate About Solutions to Overdose Crisis
Accidental Overdose Remain Leading Cause of Injury Death for Adults Ages 25-64
Durham, NC, North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) will join the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and dozens of organizations in the U.S. and abroad participating in the 12th annual International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31. The day honors and remembers those who have lost their lives to an accidental overdose. The occasion is also an opportunity to educate policymakers and the public about the growing overdose crisis in the United States and abroad – and to offer concrete solutions that save lives.
NCHRC will be hosting several events including a overdose prevention and advocacy training at the PBH Community Operations Center in Concord, NC on August 21st at 11:30am, a overdose prevention and advocacy training at Davidson County Public Library in Lexington, NC on August 22nd at 11:30am and street based overdose prevention workshops in Durham, NC on August 31st throughout the day. “Drug overdose is one of the leading causes of death for 18-49 year olds in North Carolina. We need to train all our people on preventing, recognizing and responding to drug overdoses,” stated Robert Childs, Executive Director of North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, fatal drug overdose now ranks as the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. for adults ages 25-64, surpassing motor-vehicle accidents. Recently, the Stop Overdose Stat Act, a bipartisan bill, was introduced in Congress to help prevent overdose fatalities by supporting community-based overdose prevention programs. Nationally, a number of states have recently passed ‘911 Good Samaritan’ laws, designed to encourage people to call 911 to report an overdose as quickly as possible. “911 Good Samaritan laws are vital to reduce the number of overdose deaths in NC and to encourage people to call 911. NC needs to look at passing such laws to help us curb overdose related deaths,” quoted Robert Childs, Executive Director of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.
Overdose prevention advocates across the country are calling on the U.S. philanthropic community to become more engaged in the effort to raise awareness about overdose prevention. Social media will again be a major channel for information and advocacy in the days leading up to August 31. The public is invited to participate by Tweeting memories of loved ones lost to overdose with the hashtag #OD12 or to display a purple ribbon to signify overdose prevention.
“Social media has been an incredibly powerful tool to help raise awareness about not just the overdose crisis, but the many ways communities all across the world are tackling the problem,” said Meghan Ralston, harm reduction coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance.
Advocates are also urging donations to help support access to naloxone, the overdose reversal drug. For more information, visit www.indiegogo.com/ODawarenessday.
International Overdose Awareness Day, started by the Salvation Army in Australia in 2001, is an opportunity for people around the world to publicly mourn loved ones without guilt or shame. Many participating countries also use this day to send a strong message to people who currently and formerly used drugs that their lives are valued and that no one should ever die from a preventable fatal drug overdose.