Overdoses do not discriminate. It could be a loved one, a friend, a colleague, or neighbor.
This year, in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, community members are invited to get involved in prevention.
Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster and Operation PJ Pride will join with the Port Jervis Police Department and others in an information-sharing event at Veterans Park (1 North Broome Street, Port Jervis) on Friday, Aug. 30, from noon to 2 p.m., 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-plus Americans. This increased death toll corresponds greatly with the use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl — responsible for increasing overdose deaths by 45 percent. 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."