Do Your Part to Acknowledge International Overdose Awareness Day

August 31, 2020 @ 4:12 pm

CSSW joins with SIG in urging the social work community to support events commemorating International Overdose Awareness Day.

International Overdose Awareness Day is recognized every year on August 31st, and is an important way to draw attention to both the individuals who are lost to overdose and their families and to address and end the stigma of drug-related deaths as well as share that these deaths are entirely preventable. As the website says:

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on 31 August each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that overdose death is preventable.

This year, the day has special significance for the Social Intervention Group (SIG) of the Columbia School of Social Work, which is leading the research team involved in the New York State portion of the nation-wide HEALing Communities Study (HCS). In its efforts to establish an evidence-based intervention program that could reduce the opioid death rate by 40 percent over three years in 16 distressed counties in New York State, SIG is now directly involved in efforts to prevent overdose. Those efforts include a campaign to fast-track Naloxone, and a new campaign to reduce stigma and increase awareness of the life-saving availability of medication as treatment for opioid use disorder.

The SIG-led team has now launched HCS in six of the 16 affected counties throughout New York State, many of which will be commemorating the day with events. Of HCS and the day, HEALing Communities Study Project Director Dr. Robin Kerner says, “Those of us who have the privilege of working on the HEALing Communities Study (HCS) are aware of the impact of opioid overdose and stigma every day. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to meet many individuals across our state who have devoted their talents, passion and energy to combat the opioid epidemic and fight the stigma associated with opioid use and overdose death, as well as stigma against seeking and even providing treatment.”

READ: “Several Events Highlight International Overdose Awareness Day” (08/27/20 SIG news item)

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