NC Harm Reduction Coalition Plans Statewide Events
Released by Tessie Castillo, NCHRC
August 31, 2016, is international Overdose Awareness Day, a time to commemorate loved ones lost from accidental drug overdose. In North Carolina, drug overdose claims over 1100 lives each year and is on track to surpass motor vehicle fatalities by 2017. The majority of the overdose deaths involve prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Fentanyl and almost all are preventable with the proper tools and training.
The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC), a statewide grassroots public health organization, will be hosting events in Asheville, Fayetteville, and Wilmington to remember those we have lost and mobilize people to advocate for future overdose prevention legislation and programming. Events include keynote addresses from the mayor (Fayetteville and Wilmington), a butterfly release to commemorate loved ones lost (Fayetteville only), educational events and more.
“As the opiate crisis in our community continues to grow with each life lost, the Carolina Treatment Center, NCHRC, and Radiant Church, have come together to organize this year’s Overdose Awareness Day and to kick off National Recovery Month,” says Pastor James Sizemore of Radiant Church in Fayetteville NC. “This year’s event is our largest yet! We are inviting everyone in the community to join us as we remember those we have lost, and to celebrate with those in recovery.”
“It is important to raise awareness around overdose deaths because overdose is preventable,” says Conner Adams, who is helping to organize the Asheville event. “As a community we can come together and put into action a promise to do our part in preventing overdose. This means being informed on the 911 Good Samaritan Law, sharing this information with others, and getting trained in Narcan/overdose prevention. Often times people feel apathetic around this issue because it seems so huge and insurmountable. The reality is that every single person can help stop overdose and save lives in our community.”
At the Asheville, Fayetteville and Wilmington locations, NCHRC will be dispensing Overdose Rescue Kits to interested attendees at high risk of overdose and to those who are likely to witness an overdose. The Rescue Kits include naloxone, a medication that reverses opiate overdose and the necessary supplies to administer it. Since NCHRC began distributing naloxone in August 2013, the organization has reversed over 4,160 overdoses.
“Expanding access to naloxone and training on how to prevent, recognize and respond to a drug overdose has saved many lives in North Carolina,” says Robert Childs, Executive Director of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition. “We hope to use Overdose Awareness Day to launch a raise awareness about the crisis and to put naloxone and other prevention tools into the hands of all people who need them.”
These awareness events are planned August 31, 2016, at three different locations. Event times are noted with the location:
- ASHEVILLE — The Odditorium, 1045 Haywood Road, Asheville NC — 7:30-9pm
- FAYETTEVILLE — Carolina Treatment Center, 3423 Melrose Road, Fayetteville NC — 9am-2pm
- WILMINGTON — Coastal Horizons Center, Administration Building, Board Room, 615 Shipyard Blvd, Wilmington NC — 10-11am
The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) is online at www.nchrc.org. They are headquartered at 2416 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh NC.