How To Do Your Part On Overdose Awareness Day
Each day, more than 130 people in the United States die of a drug overdose. International Overdose Awareness Day strives to spread the message that the loss of life from overdose is preventable.
This Saturday, August 31st is Overdose Awareness Day. Whether you have lost a family member, a friend, or even just know somebody who has lost someone they care about, we should all be aware of the real danger of overdose in our communities. Every neighborhood, city, and state has been impacted by the opioid epidemic. It is an equal opportunity crisis, because addiction does not discriminate.
You may be wondering what you can do to make a difference on this day (or any day for that matter) when it comes to raising awareness about the epidemic of drug overdose. Today we share several ways you can make an impact on International Overdose Awareness Day.
Learn how to recognize an overdose. A person who is overdosing may have dilated pupils, chest pain, unsteady walking, may be taking shallow breaths or have difficulty breathing, they may be vomiting or may make gurgling sounds, their lips or fingers may be blue, and they may be disoriented or unresponsive to stimuli. If you suspect that someone is overdosing, call 911 immediately and stay on the line, following instructions until help has arrived. If you or someone close by is carrying the life-saving medication called naloxone (a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose, often times referred to as Narcan), administer one dose to the individual while on the phone for assistance.
Visit a Project Dawn location and get trained on how to use naloxone (Narcan). Ohio has a network of naloxone distribution programs called Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) and you can find a location near you to get a take-home naloxone kit and get trained on how to use it. You never know when you may need it to save a life.
Download the NaloxoFind App. The NaloxoFind app gives people witnessing an overdose the ability to locate and contact local naloxone carriers. The app displays the number of carriers who are reachable if you send a request for help. Check it out today – you may just save a life!
Remember a friend or loved one. Light a candle in memory of someone you love. Post a photo or a share a fond memory as a tribute to a loved one you have lost to an overdose on your social media. It will help to honor their memory, it will help to get the conversation going that overdose can happen to any family, and it will help to break the stigma of addiction. We cannot be silent about an epidemic stealing our loved ones from us.
Message a parent, family member or friend who has lost a loved one to an overdose. Losing a loved one to an overdose is extremely heartbreaking for everyone who knows and loves this person. This day will be yet another difficult day for those missing a loved one who passed away from an overdose. Let them know you are thinking about them.
Attend an Overdose Awareness Event in your area. There are several going on in our local area:
Akron is holding the Lights of Change Overdose Awareness Day.
Medina is hosting a 2019 International Overdose Awareness Day.
Wadsworth also is planning an Overdose Awareness Day.
Believe in HOPE. Not every overdose on opioids results in death. Naloxone has saved countless lives in our communities. An overdose does not have to be the end. It can be ONE. MORE. CHANCE. If you know someone who has suffered an overdose and survived, take every opportunity to offer help, offer hope, and offer compassion and love. Lives have been changed from the life-saving medication naloxone. You can read one amazing recovery story right here. Many people have turned their lives around after surviving an overdose. They have found long-term recovery and are living happy, productive lives. Be their encourager, be their friend, and just be there for them. They can do it, but they can’t do it alone. Always remember, WE ARE HOPE UNITED!!
**If you have lost a loved one tragically, Hope United offers a support group called The Well for families who have lost a loved one to an overdose, addiction, or suicide. Join us on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month for support, understanding, and encouragement through your grief journey.