By Jessie Schirrick
On Thurs. Aug. 31, several local organizations organized a march from the BELIEVE sign in downtown Reno to Wingfield Park in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day. The participants decorated foam hearts and flowers with the name and story of their loved ones. At the end of the march there was a moment of silence in honor of everyone who has suffered from an overdose.
“There’s hope that people don’t have to die from an overdose. There are drugs like naloxone that can reverse an opioid overdose, and there’s community support. We want people to realize addiction affects all of us, and we need to help those who are struggling,” said Jennifer DeLett-Snyder, Executive Director of Join Together Northern Nevada.
International Overdose Awareness Day aims to raise global awareness about the impact of drug overdoses and the fact that overdose death is preventable. The day originated in Australia in 2001 with the efforts of The Salvation Army and the Community and Health Development Program at the City of Port Phillip (Melbourne, Australia). Since then, there have been hundreds of events around the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 52,404 Americans died in 2015 from a drug overdose and 143 Americans are fatally overdosing on drugs every day.
Those involved include Join Together Northern Nevada, Bristlecone Family Resources, Northern Nevada Hopes, ACCEPT, Washoe County Health District, Washoe County Human Services Agency, Westcare, and several family members who have lost loved ones.