Event planned for International Overdose Awareness Day


Hope for Highland County will hold an event at the courthouse in Highland County Thursday, Aug. 31 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day.

According to the Penington Institute, International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died from overdose, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.

This year’s theme for International Overdose Awareness day is “Recognizing those people who go unseen.”

“What we have planned is a couple guest speakers, people who have either lost someone or personally been affected from an overdose,” said Kim Davis of Hope for Highland County. “There will be a few treatment centers that are going to be set up and handing out information, and then we’ll have free Narcan training.”

The Hope for Highland County organization has been working to fight against drug abuse for about six years. “Back in 2017, we did a Hope Over Heroin event at the fairgrounds in Highland County, and from that we organized and started Hope for Highland,” said Davis.

Tonya Aber, of 4 Them We Fight, a non-profit organization that promotes awareness about fentanyl overdoses, will also be at the event.

Davis said the event is an opportunity to spread an important message. “It gives the public an opportunity to mourn loved ones, and it sends a message to our community that this is something that needs addressed,” she said. “So many people have been affected by an overdose, and it connects people to services and provides people that are still in active addiction the ability to see hope, to know that are people that recover, and in a sense it does help prevent and reduce overdoses when we come together as a community and provide these types of services and resources.”

Davis said people can help with the problem by knowing what resources are out there, carrying Narcan, and being familiar with what addiction looks like. “Reach out and support local resources like churches that are trying to provide resources like Celebrate Recovery,” she said. “Celebrate Recover would be a good organization that other people in the community can come and support.”

She said it is important to fight against the stigma associated with drug abuse. “There are a lot of families who still really suffer in silence because of the stigma that’s related to a child or spouse or a loved one dying from an overdose,” she said.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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