(WTAJ) — As International Overdose Awareness Day approaches, organizations are planning special events in observance of the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose and remember those who have died.
Both Bedford and Somerset counties have announced when and where their events will take place. The events will remember loved ones for more than their substance use disorder, remember those who have died, acknowledge the grief of family and friends left behind, and help end the stigma.
When: Aug. 31 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: The Square in Downtown Bedford
Several organizations have joined together to host Bedford County’s first-ever Overdose Awareness event. The event is free and will provide information to community members about overdose prevention. Local organizations involved in responding to the overdose crisis and addiction will be attending to share some available support services to individuals and families.
Organizers of the event said the evening will conclude with speakers on the impact of overdose in the county and the lighting of memorial luminaries. PSI will also be providing drug disposal bags and distributing Narcan.
“It is our hope to send a strong message to people with substance use disorders that they are valued and that help is available,” Event Coordinator Melissa Jacobs said. “This event will draw attention to the reality that overdose deaths are preventable and recovery is possible.”
When: Aug. 20 from 5 to 9 p.m.
Where: F.O.E. Field at 824 Madison Avenue in Somerset
The Not Alone Family Support Group, which is a group that meets with the resources of UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Twin Lakes, will be hosting an overdose awareness event. It is open to anyone in the community and will feature Narcan training, local vendors, stories of recovery, a memorial softball game, live music and a candlelight memorial.
Schedule of events:
5:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Memorial softball game
5:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Narcan training
5:30 to 7:30 p.m. — Local vendors
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. — People in recovery sharing their stories of hope as well as live music
8:30 p.m. — Lighting of remembrance jars
Data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics indicate there were an estimated 107,622 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. during 2021, a nearly 15 percent increase from the 93,655 deaths estimated in 2020.