Friday is International Overdose Awareness Day.
According to its founding organization, it’s a day for communities worldwide to commemorate the lives of those lost to overdose and to demand effective action to save lives.
During the first six months of 2018, there were 657 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts. The Department of Public Health estimates that there will be an additional 322 to 396 deaths this year.
The state report on opioid overdoses also showed fentanyl was found in 89 percent of opioid-related overdose deaths, a 40 percent increase since 2014. Since then, the heroin content involved in overdose deaths has been decreasing, while fentanyl and cocaine content have been trending higher.
In January 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that more than 64,000 people in the United States died from an overdose in 2016.
Liz Whynott from Tapestry Health in Holyoke told 22News Friday was a day to get rid of the stigma toward families of those who have overdosed.
“There’s so much shame and stigma around heroin use and drug overdoses and that is true not for only people who are using drugs but also true for their friends and their family, so it’s important to know there are people who are here for you,” said Whynott.
Governor Baker’s planning to take action to stem the flow of fentanyl into Massachusetts and across New England. On August 9, Baker signed a new law to expand addiction-prevention measures and access to treatment.
A vigil will be held Friday night at the Holyoke library at 6 p.m., to remember loved ones from western Massachusetts who died due to an overdose.
Did you know? In Massachusetts, the Good Samaritan Law protects those who call 9-1-1 in the event of an overdose. The law provides protection from drug possession charges when an overdose victim or an overdose witness seeks medical attention.
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