Awareness: The First Step Toward Change

According to The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, at least 190,000 people died from a drug overdose in the last year. That means that every 2 minutes and 45 seconds, someone loses their life to an overdose, and that someone has a face, a name, and a family.

Drug overdose is a global issue that is particularly pressing in the United States, which, according to the U.S. Census, accounts for 4.4% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s drug-related deaths. In fact, more Americans died of drug overdoses in the last year than in the entire Vietnam War, reported the New York Times. It is our job to learn what we can to prevent this epidemic from escalating.

The first step toward change is awareness. Overdose Awareness Day is a globally recognized commemorative day observed on August 31st. It is a day to: spread awareness, honor those affected by overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-overdoses, encourage discussion about overdose prevention, and offer compassionate support to the families grieving the loss of a loved one due to overdose.

Participating in an overdose awareness event is a powerful way to join together to raise awareness and remember those we have lost. Santa Barbara is one of the many communities that will be hosting an event—“A Candlelight Walk To Remember” will take place on Thursday, August 31 at 6:30PM at the De La Guerra Plaza. All members of the community are invited and encouraged to participate in this free event, sponsored by Recovery Fusion, Bekynder Events, and Santa Barbara Addiction Treatment. Participants are encouraged to wear purple or silver to show their support.

As a nation, we must rethink the way we deal with addiction because the stigma attached prevents many people from getting the help they need. Learn what an overdose looks like and how you can prevent it: http://mohopeproject.org/overdose-prevention-and-harm-reduction/