Modified: August 29, 2016 10:15am
From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein
Date August 29, 2016
CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov
Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925
International Overdose Awareness Day
Global Event to Raise Awareness of Overdoses and Reduce Stigma of Drug-Related Deaths
ERIE COUNTY, NY— On Wednesday, August 31, 2016, local officials, members of the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force, and representatives from various first responder organizations will mark International Overdose Awareness Day. At 7:00pm that evening at the Erie County Emergency Services Training and Operations Center (3359 Broadway, Cheektowaga 14227), a brief program will be held that not only remembers loved ones and friends lost to a drug overdose, but acknowledges the tremendous community service provided by all first responders across Erie County. Following the program, a tree will be planted on the Center’s grounds to publicly acknowledge the gratitude to first responders who have played a pivotal role in the opiate epidemic.
Overdose Awareness Day offers all who have been affected by overdose a chance to share their grief and loss, and helps the wider community understand that fatal overdoses can occur anywhere—to any family in any location, whether that be rural, urban or suburban. “No one should feel shame or disgrace over a drug overdose,” said Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health. “However, this day should serve as a warning that both illicit drugs and prescription drugs can be deadly. When misused, both legal and illegal drugs can lead to an overdose situation; no one is immune to an overdose.”
With the number of fatal drug overdoses continuing to rise across the United States, it highlights the fact that medicines are not always our friends. Painkillers, such as opioids, and other pharmacy drugs play an important medical role, but their use can have long-term tragic consequences.
“Without the tremendous support and compassion exhibited by Erie County’s first responders, the number of fatal overdoses would be much, much higher,” stated Daniel J. Neaverth, Jr., Erie County Commissioner of Emergency Services. “The willingness of law enforcement, paid and volunteer fire departments, emergency medical technicians and paramedics to train on the signs and symptoms of an overdose, carry and use naloxone to reverse opiate overdoses has most certainly saved lives, giving individuals struggling with the disease of addiction another chance.”
The tree planting is sponsored by the Family Support Heroin Opiate Prevention Engagement Project (“HOPE”), a committee of the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force.
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