US Urges Action on Overdose Awareness Day

The US National Safety Council has called for recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day with particular regard to opioid overdose, which was responsible for almost 38,000 deaths in the US alone in 2016.

Drug overdoses in the US totaled 54,793 in 2016.

Preventable opioid overdose deaths increased 29% in 2016 and are up 544% since 1999.

Currently, 73% of preventable opioid deaths occur among those ages 25 to 54, though the number of deaths among individuals age 55 and older is growing, presenting new challenges.

Deborah A.P. Hersman, President and CEO of the National Safety Council, said: “The opioid epidemic has taken an incredible toll on our nation, resulting in the loss of family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

“International Overdose Awareness Day is a time to remember those who have died, but it is also an opportunity to prevent additional deaths through sharing stories and supporting education and advocacy efforts.”

Community members are urged to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day in some way, such as hosting or attending a candlelight vigil; participating in an educational program, such as how to administer naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug; disposing of unused medications in their home; or sharing an art-based project memorializing lives lost.

Read more: From Addiction & Victimhood to Awakening

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