On Wednesday August 31, 2016 the Portsmouth City Health Department will join many other organizations in the U.S. and abroad by hosting an event for International Overdose Awareness Day. International Overdose Awareness Day aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. Overdose Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable, and communities can take measures to reduce these unnecessary losses.
The occasion is also an opportunity to educate policymakers and the public about a variety of proven solutions, such as “911 Good Samaritan” laws and the life-saving opiate overdose reversal medication, naloxone.
Scioto County is, perhaps, the ideal community for commemorating the day. Scioto County has had among the highest fatal overdose rates in the state for over a decade. For many years, Scioto County had the highest rate of distribution and consumption of opioid prescription pain medications, which contributed to high levels of addiction and death. Recently, heroin-related overdoses and deaths have skyrocketed throughout the country and Scioto County is having the same experience.
“You’ve got to remember, 4 in 5 of people today who start using heroin began their opioid addiction on these prescription opioids. The problem and responsibility doesn’t start today with the stereotypical criminal street dealer. We basically created this problem with legally manufactured drugs that were legally prescribed,” explains Lisa Roberts RN of the Portsmouth City Health Department. “So the face of misuse and addiction has also changed, since many people become addicted due to a medical event. Senior citizens taking pain medication are also overdosing, as are younger people. It has crossed into all aspects of society and has been determined to be a national epidemic,” she added.
Scioto County’s International Overdose Awareness Day event will be held at the Fastop Market located at 1735 8th. St.in Portsmouth on Wednesday August 31 from 10AM-2PM. There will be free food and music and everyone is welcome. Numerous local agencies will be there to do outreach and to educate the public and offer services.
At noon, the health department encourages all to take part in an Awareness and Memorial March. Participants are encouraged to carry photos of their lost loved ones or create and carry signs.
For more information about the event contact Lisa Roberts R.N. at 740-354-8943 or join the facebook event “Scioto County International Overdose Awareness Day 2016”.
Learn more about International Overdose Awareness Day at: http://www.overdoseday.com/