Press release from SeekHealing:
International Overdose Awareness Day takes place every year on Aug. 31 to raise awareness about overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related overdoses and deaths. This day acknowledges the grief of families and friends of those who have passed or been permanently injured by an overdose.
The opioid overdose epidemic is the greatest public health crisis of our time. According to the CDC, overdose deaths claim the lives of more than 70,000 Americans every year. Friends, family members, neighbors and children are all included in these numbers. As the community here in Buncombe County grapples with these tragedies, community members are expanding their perspective on this truly human tragedy.
“We need two things to stop these deaths: more naloxone (Narcan), and more compassionate, human connection,” says local nonprofit leader Jennifer Nicolaisen. “As our culture changes, we’re all struggling with addiction in some way, shape or form. We need to stop shaming each other for the various addictions we’re using to cope, whether it’s binge-watching Netflix, or using IV drugs, or both. If we can start showing each other compassion, universally, then we can start to create a world we all want to live in rather than escape from.”
On Saturday, Aug. 31, from 2-9 p.m., a coalition of local nonprofits and government organizations will come together to do just that. The 12 Baskets Poverty Initiative, SeekHealing, Harmonia, Sunrise Community for Recovery & Wellness and the Buncombe County Public Health Department are teaming up to host an event to promote human connection and compassion for addiction across the community.
The event will feature a free community meal in partnership with 12 Baskets, a local cafe that serves free lunch every day in West Asheville. The food will be donated by local restaurants and the event organizers are inviting you to come out and help carry food down to Carrier Park from Haywood Road. There will also be a large, peaceful sanctuary space provided by local non-profit Harmonia where community members can come together to grieve their losses without judgment. Local artists and musicians will also be present, and there will be volunteers on hand all day long to provide Narcan and overdose reversal training to the general public.