Inaugural International Overdose Awareness Day to be hosted Moreland Park this month


This article was originally published in the Owensboro Times on Aug. 15, 2023. Click here to view.

RiverValley Behavioral Health is hosting its inaugural “International Overdose Awareness Day at the Park” on August 31 at Moreland Park. 

The event’s theme, “It’s Time to Remember. It’s Time to Act,” reflects the urgency and importance of addressing the overdose crisis that has affected countless lives, according to a release from RVBH.

In 2022, close to 110,000 people died in the United States from drug overdoses, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). In Kentucky, there were 2,135 overdose deaths reported by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy. Of those fatalities, 28 were in Daviess County

“Through increased education and awareness efforts, we can help prevent overdose deaths in our community. That is the only way we will see these staggering numbers begin to drop,” said Nicki Feher, RVBH Vice President of Nursing and Prescriber Services. “Through this event, we hope to decrease stigmas associated with overdose by allowing the community to hear stories and receive education and resources about substance use and recovery. We want our community to know there are resources available and we are here to help.” 

Observed on the last day of August every year, International Overdose Awareness Day aims to bring communities together to raise awareness about the ongoing opioid crisis, to remember those lost to overdose, and encourage action towards prevention and support. 

The local family-friendly event will feature a range of activities designed for all ages and will promote education and community involvement. Activities for children and youth include inflatables, free pizza, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, as well as a presence from local health and wellness organizations, community resources, and a memorial ceremony and subsequent bubble release to honor loved ones lost to overdose. 

There will also be a memorial wall for attendees to write down memories of their loved ones, post photos or other memorabilia to help them memorialize family and loved ones, or share their own stories of recovery. 

RVBH will distribute Narcan nasal spray during the event and provide information and demonstrations on how and when to administer the life-saving medication. Narcan for this event is provided by the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE). 

Dr. Wanda Figueroa-Peralta, RVBH President & CEO, said Overdose Awareness Day is not just a public health campaign.

“Our commitment to overdose awareness reflects our commitment to the well-being of every individual, reinforcing the notion that everyone deserves the chance to heal, recover, and thrive,” she said. “Every community deserves to be safe and healthy. We encourage members of our community to participate in our event and to help us end overdose. Each life lost to overdose is a tragedy that ripples through families, communities, and workplaces.”

Published on August 23, 2023