Overdose Awareness Day rally at Pack Square Aug. 31

Press release from SeekHealing:

Overdose Awareness Day (OAD) is an internationally observed day to raise awareness about the human cost of drug overdose and to honor the memories of loved ones lost. In Asheville, four local harm reduction organizations — SeekHealing, WNCAP, the Steady Collective, and the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition — are teaming up to host Overdose Awareness Day in Pack Square on August 31 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“Hundreds of people in Buncombe County overdose every year. It’s important that we come together as a community to hold space for each other in the wake of these tragedies.” says Jennifer Nicolaisen, Overdose Awareness Day Coordinator. “We have to remember that while addiction is hard to talk about, those who are suffering are our friends, family, and neighbors.”

The number of overdoses in Buncombe County ER’s tripled between 2016 and 2017. There were 106 drug overdose deaths in Buncombe County in 2017, and so far this year, we’ve already topped that with 140. The year isn’t even over yet.

The event will feature opening remarks from County Public Health Director Jan Sheppard, words from Buncombe County Commissioners Jasmine Beach-Ferrara and Al Whitesides, a message about the state’s response to the opioid crisis from Representative John Ager, the announcement of a new Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program by Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams, family member testimonials, an educational panel featuring representatives from MAHEC, Western Carolina Treatment Center, Steady Collective Syringe Exchange, and SeekHealing, naloxone training and distribution, music by local artist Asher Leigh and a candlelight vigil.

For more information, contact Jennifer Nicolaisen, OAD event coordinator and SeekHealing executive director, at 703-731-4421 or jennifer@seekhealing.org.

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