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On August 31, Westchester County Executive George Latimer will officially recognize “International Overdose Awareness Day” at a ceremony called “A Day of Remembrance and Awareness.” The ceremony will take place at the City of White Plains Library Plaza, 100 Martine Avenue at 5:30 p.m. The event was created to honor the lives of individuals lost to overdose, and to recognize the people, providers and programs working together to reduce stigma and overdose in Westchester County, and New York State.
The event is co-sponsored by Westchester County, City of White Plains, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence/Westchester and other members of the recovery community.
In addition to the ceremony, Latimer announced the annual recognition would appear in digital form outside the Westchester County Center. The County is also collaborating with community organizations on several educational and training programs throughout the month of September.
Latimer said: “Overdose deaths can be prevented, and in Westchester County, we are doing everything we can to work together to stop death by overdose. It isn’t always easy to speak up if you think a family member or friend is struggling with addiction, but if you let that intimidation get the best of you, the result could be incredibly tragic. On Overdose Awareness Day, and every day throughout the year, let us come together with our community partners and organizations in the hopes of stopping overdose death in Westchester.”
Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health Michael Orth said: “Many lives have been lost and many families have been destroyed because of overdose. Let us stop that on Overdose Awareness Day. We thank County Executive Latimer for officially recognizing Overdose Awareness Day, and his leadership in supporting prevention and life-saving services available here in Westchester County.”
Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Health Dr. Sherlita Amler said: “Overdose is now the third leading cause of death in our country, and substance use disorder is a complex disease that requires an all hands on deck approach to address. Addiction can disrupt and sadly destroy a family, and the consequences of addiction reach far beyond the addict. On Overdose Awareness Day we collaborate as public health and mental health professionals to help prevent, respond and treat those who are struggling.”
Host and Co-Sponsor of the Awareness Event, White Plains Mayor Tom Roach said: “White Plains is please to participate in International Overdose Awareness Day. Purple lighting of the fountains at Renaissance Plaza, the Lyons Garage, and Library Plaza, serve to mourn the lives lost to overdoes and raise awareness of resources that are available to help people impacted by substance use. Together, we can turn the tide on the historically high rates of drug related overdoses.”
Executive Director of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence/Westchester Inc. Joan Bonsignore said: “It is important to bring attention to the international crisis of substance abuse and opioid overdose that permeates our society in the U.S. and around the world. No life is lost in vain. We are coming together to make a difference, and we need to put an end to this fentanyl massacre that is killing our children.”
Executive Director of Friends of Recovery Westchester Inc. Lisa Hope said: “Overdose Awareness Day is an opportunity for loved ones to grieve this type of loss, mostly in efforts to create a safe space for this to be recognized. Some of the most important goals of this national campaign are to repair the damage that stigma has caused over the years, especially pertaining to the value of a human life.”
For additional information on International Overdose Awareness Day and resources here in Westchester County please contact the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health at (914) 955-5220.
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