August 31st 2013 is national Overdose Awareness Day, a time to commemorate loved ones lost from accidental drug overdose. In North Carolina, drug overdose claims over 1100 lives each year and is on track to surpass motor vehicle fatalities by 2017. The majority of the overdose deaths involve prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin, Percocet and Fentanyl and almost all are preventable with the proper tools and training. North Carolina recently passed a new law, SB20: 911 Good Samaritan/Naloxone Access law, to reduce premature deaths from overdose.
The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC), a grassroots public health organization, will be hosting six events statewide in Asheville, Fayetteville, Franklin, Greensboro, Hickory and Chapel Hill. Events will consist of a screening of the short documentary about drug overdose called “Reach for Me,” a brief overview of the epidemic, and a candle-light vigil with opportunities for attendees to remember their loved ones aloud.
“I lost my little sister to a drug overdose,” says Chad Sanders, brother of Shelly Sanders, who died in 2005. “I know if she were still alive she would want to advocate not only for herself, but for others as well. Today I’m taking those steps for her.”
At the Asheville, Fayetteville and Chapel Hill locations, NCHRC will be dispensing Overdose Rescue Kits to interested attendees at high risk of overdose and to those who are likely to witness an overdose. The Rescue Kits include naloxone, a medication that reverses opiate overdose and the necessary supplies to administer it. After the passage of SB20, community organizations are now able to distribute naloxone to people at risk for overdose and their loved ones under the standing orders of a medical provider.
“Expanding access to naloxone and training on how to prevent, recognize and respond to a drug overdose will save many lives in North Carolina,” says Robert Childs, Executive Director of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition. “We hope to use Overdose Awareness Day to launch a new statewide campaign to put naloxone and other prevention tools into the hands of all people who need them.”
WHAT: Overdose Awareness Day Events
WHEN: August 31, 2013
48 Commerce St, Asheville, NC 28801
Catalyst Community Church
1905 Gillespie Street, Fayetteville, NC 28306
Full Circle Recovery Center, LLC
591 West Palmer Street, Franklin, NC 28734
401 Ashland Dr, Greensboro, NC 27403
Grace House Day Shelter
1:00pm – 2:00pm
102 1st Ave NE. Hickory NC 28601
Community Church of Chapel Hill
106 Purefoy Rd
Chapel Hill, NC 27514