International Overdose Awareness campaign

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, and on Long Island, families and friends of overdose victims gathered as part of a global effort to dispel the stigma surrounding opioid and substance use disorders.

By Jodi Goldberg | Updated August 31. 2023 | Source: Fox 5 New York

Hauppauge's THRIVE Recovery Center was illuminated by the somber glow of candlelight as the names of those lost to fatal overdoses and drug poisonings were solemnly read aloud. 

The vent served as a cathartic gathering for families and friends, offering them a space to acknowledge their grief and pay tribute to their loved ones.

Thursday, August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, a globally recognized initiative aimed at dispelling the stigma surrounding opioid and substance use disorders. 

"Anyone who thinks it can’t happen to my child, I’ll give you a wake-up call," said Carole Trottere who lost her son. "You don’t always know everything your kid is doing."

According to the CDC, more than 107,000 people died of drug overdoses in the U.S. last year alone.

"For parents, it means having a conversation with your kids, not when they’re in trouble but when they’re younger about the dangers of drugs and alcohol," said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds with Family Childrens Association.

Naloxone or Narcan used to reverse an opioid overdose will be available for $45 in retail stores and online in early September according to the manufacturer. Advocates call it a major step in fighting the crisis.

"If you can get a defibrillator or EpiPen in a pharmacy, you should be able to obtain naloxone or Narcan," said Steve Chassman who is the Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence.