Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 72,000 Americans died from drug-related overdose last year, with more than 50,000 of those attributed to opioids.
Given the reported spike in overdose and related fatalities on the local level, the NRVCS Community Wellness and Outreach team is making a concerted effort to increase public awareness of this issue in conjunction with the observance of International Overdose Awareness Day (Monday, August 31). A summary of planned activities is included below:
Drive-thru Narcan distribution
The agency will be conducting mobile/drive-thru Narcan education and distribution the week of August 31, with events planned at NRVCS’ clinics in each of the five jurisdictions. (See graphic below for the full schedule.)
Individuals will be able to remain in their vehicles with minimal contact. NRVCS staff will also be taking all necessary COVID-19 precautions.
“Our goal is to distribute 200 doses of Narcan, the nasal spray form of the overdose-reversing medication, naloxone,” notes Mike Wade, Coordinator of Community Wellness and Outreach for NRVCS. “We will also be providing participants with free medication-disposal pouches so that they can safely destroy unused/expired medications in an environmentally-friendly manner.”
Virtual town hall
On the evening of August 31, NRVCS will be hosting a virtual town hall to discuss overdose, as well as treatment options, and recovery. Several NRVCS staff will be participating, along with individuals from the recovery community, and a representative of local law enforcement. The town hall event, which begins at 7 p.m. (EST), will be broadcast via the NRVCS Facebook page.
NRVCS clinics will ‘go purple’
“Once you finish watching the virtual town hall on August 31, we encourage you to drive by your nearest NRVCS clinic/center,” adds Wade. “The exterior of each building will be basked in purple lights, marking the official color of International Overdose Awareness Day.”
The lighting equipment is being made possible through NRVCS’ State Opioid Response (SOR) funding, with installation being coordinated by the NRVCS Facilities Team.
If you are out and about, be sure to take a photo of the clinic nearest you and post it to social media using the hashtags #EndOverdoseNRV and #IOAD2020.