Overdose Awareness Community Event

The Fairfield County P.A.R.T.  (Prevention, Advocacy, Recovery and Treatment) Coalition will join The Fairfield County Health Department, the Fairfield ADAMH Board and Project F.O.R.T. (Fairfield Overdose Response Team), for an Overdose Awareness Event on the evening of August 31, from 6 – 8 PM in downtown Lancaster at Fountain Square. Several mental health and substance use disorder agencies will be on site participating in the event as well.

International Overdose Awareness Day is always recognized on August 31, and it is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died from overdose, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind. This year’s theme is “recognizing those people who go unseen.”  Unseen refers to loved ones, friends and others who have experienced individuals in their lives with a substance use disorder.  The event will also celebrate those in recovery.

Overdose is defined by medical professionals as the accidental or intentional use of a drug or a substance such as alcohol or a narcotic beyond the recommended dosage.  An overdose can have serious consequences, with effects ranging from mild disorientation to seizures, brain injury, and death.

Overdose rates declined slightly in Fairfield County in 2022 vs. 2021, and health officials attribute this decrease to a range of public health interventions.  One such intervention is Project Dawn (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone).  This intervention, along with others, combines opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution within the county.

Even with the slight decrease in overdoses this past year, the number is still 50% higher than pre-pandemic levels according to the Center for Disease Control.  The reason for this is due to the production of synthetic opioids, like fentanyl.  Synthetic opioids are more likely to be illicitly manufactured and can be used intentionally or unintentionally – and unknowingly – combined with other drugs.

Fairfield County will hold its 3rd annual Overdose Awareness Day this year, since Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed Senate Bill 30 into law on June 8, 2021, that designates August 31 each year, as Overdose Awareness Day.

If you have lost someone in your life to any type of overdose or are experiencing misuse of drugs in your family or household, you are urged to come to this event.  Educational materials as well as Naloxone Kits will be free to those who come.

In the event of inclement weather, the Overdose Awareness Event will be held inside at 111 S. Broad Street, Lancaster, Ohio.

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Jackie Howard, public relations coordinator with the Fairfield ADAMH Board in Lancaster, Ohio.

By Jackie Howard

Jackie Howard is the public relations coordinator with the Fairfield ADAMH Board. She is active in the community through the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club and an accomplished pianist. Jackie enjoys spending time with her family, dogs and making the world a brighter place.