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August 29, 2016

Overdose Awareness Day (Aug. 31): An opportunity to publicly mourn, discuss impacts of opioid abuse

Boulder County, Colo. - International Overdose Awareness Day is Wednesday, August 31. The public is invited to stand in solidarity at events in Longmont and Boulder to publicly honor loved ones who have died from overdose. Speakers at each location will also discuss the impacts that opioid overdose has on the community.

Locations and Times

Wednesday, August 31, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
City of Longmont Safety and Justice Center
225 Kimbark Street

Wednesday, August 31, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Boulder County Courthouse
Between 13th and 14th Streets on Pearl Street

Residents are invited to show support by wearing black. Silver pins to commemorate those who have died from an overdose will be provided.

Boulder County Public Health is planning International Overdose Awareness Day events with help from several partners, including the Boulder and Longmont police departments. Although police often respond to calls linked to drug use, addiction and overdose are issues that stretch beyond law enforcement and require a community response.

“We cannot treat it simply as a criminal justice problem, but rather a public health problem,” said Longmont Public Safety Chief Mike Butler.

One individual dies every 10 hours in Colorado from a drug overdose. According to the Colorado Health Institute, the rate of drug overdose deaths in Colorado climbed 68 percent between 2002 and 2014; that is higher than the national average.

“Opioid addiction is a national epidemic that affects individuals no matter their age, sex, or socioeconomic status,” said Boulder Police Chief Greg Testa.

The Boulder Police Department was among the first in the state to train officers to use the life-saving medication Naloxone, which reverses opioid overdoses. The medication is also available at several local pharmacies. Training on how to recognize the signs of an overdose and administer Naloxone is available through Boulder County Public Health’s Works Program. The program also offers a syringe exchange service – more than 1,000 people were served in 2015.

More details about Overdose Awareness Day events in Longmont and Boulder are available on Facebook.