Analysis, Commentary, Health and Fitness

On International Overdose Awareness Day, Parents Across the Nation Will Gather to Remember and Honor Lives Lost and Educate Communities about Solutions to the Overdose Crisis.

Moms United to End the War on Drugs
(Source: Moms United to End the War on Drugs)

Moms United to End the War on Drugs Partners are Creating Events in Several Cities in the United States and with Moms Stop the Harm Partners in Canada as Overdose Deaths Reach a Record High

CALIFORNIA—(ENEWSPF)—August 30, 2018
Contact: Gretchen Burns Bergman

Moms United to End the War on Drugs representatives are raising awareness about the crisis on accidental overdoses across the nation and around the world. Families will hold rallies and vigils during the week leading up to International Overdose Awareness Day (August 31) that will honor and remember those who have lost their lives to an overdose. They are educating policymakers and the public about the growing global overdose crisis and offering concrete solutions that save lives. Moms are calling on the government to reform drug laws to legally control and regulate drugs in order to stop more people from dying.

There are solutions that can save lives, such as “Good Samaritan” immunity laws that encourage people who are witnessing an overdose to call 911 without fear of arrest, and expanding access to naloxone, a non-narcotic drug that reverses an overdose. Through the Moms United “Ask Mom How to Save a Life” campaign mothers are providing overdose prevention education, training and naloxone kits to prevent opioid overdose deaths.

We’re now losing more than 72,000 people a year to drug overdose deaths in the U.S. Yet, our government continues to employ a prohibitionist approach to drugs. The stigma associated with drug use allows these punitive tactics to prevail and prevents the adoption of innovative harm reduction strategies that can save lives.

Julia Negron, organizer of the Suncoast Harm Reduction Project in Florida (a project of A New PATH) states: “Now is the time to acknowledge the lives lost to overdose, and in their name make Naloxone available. I lost both my mother and sister to overdose and my son still struggles with addiction. There are too many roadblocks to recovery now: there’s no rehab is you’re dead.”

“Naloxone saved my life 5 times. Today, my children have a mother! Today I help others in recovery transition to self-sufficiency and regain their lives and families,” said Maria Alexander from Center 4 Living and PATH Los Angeles.

Caroline Stewart, L.C.S.W., President of the Board of Directors of A New PATH says: “My son has struggled for years with addiction to heroin. He has experienced stigma, homelessness and incarceration. Now parents are reaching out the homeless community to distribute life-saving naloxone, because every life matters!”

Gretchen Burns Bergman, A New PATH Co-Founder &Lead Organizer of Moms United to End the War on Drugs said: “As a mother of two sons who have struggled with heroin addiction, one of whom almost died of an accidental overdose, it is my right to have naloxone in my medicine cabinet.  Every moment counts in saving a precious life! We must reform our punitive prohibitionist drug laws in order to end these senseless tragedies”

Moms United to End the War on Drugs is an international campaign of A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing). Moms are leading the charge to end the violence, mass arrest and incarceration and accidental overdose deaths that are the result of current punitive drug policies. For More information:

International Overdose Awareness Day, started by the Salvation Army in Australia in 2001, is an opportunity for people around the world to publicly mourn loved ones without guilt or shame. Many participating countries also use this day to send a strong message to current and former drug users that their lives are valued and that no one should ever die from a preventable fatal drug overdose.

2018 International Overdose Awareness Events:

San Diego, CA: (Aug 31 at 11am) A New PATH and Moms United partners including Fair Chance Project, Drug Policy Alliance and Law Enforcement Action Partnership are holding a  “Walk on Washington” (street) demanding that drug overdoses are handled like any other medical emergency, naloxone distribution and candlelight vigil in Pioneer Park. Address: 1425 Washington Place, San Diego, CA. Info: 619-670-1184

Washington, D.C.: (Aug. 31, 6:30pm EST) Community event on Facebook Live. ( 1200 Block of Holbrook Street NE, WDC. Moms United ASK MOM & Overdose Awareness Day with Conversations of Overdose by an impacted community.

Manatee and Sarasota Counties, Florida, USA: (Aug. 30, 6:30pm) The Suncoast Harm Reduction Project, a project of A New PATH, and No Longer Silent are holding a National Overdose Awareness Day march. Meet at Palmetto side of the green bridge (8th Ave. West Palmetto). The walk will be followed by a candlelight vigil. Narcan will be available as well as literature and info on available treatment centers. [email protected].

Pittsburgh, PA:  (Aug. 31 at 12noon) Coalition for Leadership, Education and Advocacy for Recovery and clergy will hold a prayer service outside Trinity Cathedral, 328 Sixth Street, for those who died from drug overdoses, those who suffer from addiction and for continued sobriety for those in recovery.  A bell will ring for every person who died in Allegheny County last year.  Narcan training after service in the cathedral 320 Sixth Ave.

Rochester, NY: (Aug. 31) 3rd annual Overdose Awareness Event. Contact: [email protected]

Canada National Campaign: (Aug. 31) Moms Stop the Harm are Moms United partners. Purple and silver ribbons will be displayed for all those lost to overdose, as a token of remembrance and symbols of ties that bind. In the week leading up to Overdose Awareness Day, people are encouraged to paint the town purple in honor of devastating losses and families mourning due to the overdose crisis. Other events will be staged throughout the country.

You can find a local event in the United States and abroad here.