By Wayne Allen
On Monday, Aug. 31, several community organizations are coming together to host an event for International Overdose Awareness Day.
“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,” said Lisa Roberts, an RN of the Portsmouth City Health Department.
One of the aims of the overdose awareness event, according to Roberts is to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. She said the event will 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.
According to www.overdoseday.com, Drug overdose was responsible for 41,340 deaths in the US in 2011. US overdose deaths have increased for 12 successive years. In 2011 and for the fourth year in a row, the number of US citizens whose deaths were drug-related exceeded the number of fatalities in road traffic accidents (33,561). Almost five people per hour died of overdose in the US in 2011.
“Overdose Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable,” Roberts said.
The event will take place at Fastop Market located at 1735 8th St. in Portsmouth from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Roberts said the Portsmouth City Health Department will be at the event distributing Naloxone kits. She said local treatment providers and applicable social agencies will be set up booths to educate the public over the course of the event.
Rebekah Bolser is the featured speaker for the event. Bolser is a nationally recognized youth activist whose passion lies with sustainable development, youth empowerment, and education equity. She is the Executive Director of “Seat At the Table”; an Ohio based nonprofit focusing on youth empowerment and civic engagement. She will speak to participants at 11:30 a.m.
At noon, there will be a commemorative march supporting human life. The march will begin at noon at Fastop Market. Participants are encouraged to create and carry signs, and to wear something silver if possible. Silver signifies the loss of someone cherished or demonstrates support to those bearing a burden.
For more information about International Overdose Awareness Day visit, www.overdoseday.com.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT