News Column

Parents and Harm Reduction Advocates from Southern California Gather in Los Angeles for the 13th Annual International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31

Aug 29 2013 12:00AM

Hispanic PR Wire

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Alcohol Justice is reporting that the Los Angeles chapter of A New PATH will join the Drug Policy Alliance, Cri-Help, Inc., Paso Por Paso, Broken No More, Alcohol Justice and other organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad participating in the 13th annual International Overdose Awareness Day on Saturday, August 31. The day honors and remembers those who have lost their lives to an accidental overdose. It is also an opportunity to educate policymakers and the public about the growing overdose crisis in the United States – and to offer concrete solutions that save lives.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110727/DC41105LOGO )

Join us on Saturday, August 31 at 10:15 am at Cri-Help, Inc., Socorro Campus – 2010 N. Lincoln Park Ave. L.A.; we will walk in a funeral procession from Lincoln Park to the front of the L.A. County Coroner's office - 1104 N. Mission Rd. by 11:15; then on to the steps of the USC Medical Center – 1200 N. State. St., where, at 11:45 am, we will stage a "Die In" and press conference to bring awareness to those lost through accidental overdose. We are demanding greater access to Naloxone for overdose prevention, and working to eliminate stigma by treating drug overdoses like any other medical emergency.

This "performance art" happening is part of the national Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign (A project of A New PATH). "My son is a survivor of overdose. Thankfully a 'Good Samaritan' took him to the hospital after his friends dropped him off at home, unconscious, for fear of police involvement. It is frustrating and maddening that so many other families are dealing with this tragic and avoidable loss," said Gretchen Burns Bergman, Founder of A New PATH and Lead organizer of the Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign.

John Whitaker, Director of A New PATH – LA and former child star says, "I have five dear friends whose lives I will be honoring on Saturday, August 31; three of them are that of my co-star, Anissa Jones, Buffy who needlessly died of an overdose of Quaaludes in 1976, Dana Plato (Different Strokes) who died in 1999 and for whom Naloxone may have saved her, and Eric Douglas (Kirk's Son and half-brother to Michael) whose battle fighting his demons ended in 2004. We will also remember others who have died this year including Corey Monteith. Their lives, along with others, will be celebrated and we will make sure that their deaths will NOT have been in vain."

Drug overdose remains a leading cause of accidental death in the United States. 100 people die in the United States each day from preventable, accidental overdose. Nationally, a number of states have recently passed '911 Good Samaritan' laws, including California, in 2012. This law is designed to encourage people to call 911 to report an overdose as quickly as possible to reverse an overdose. Smart solutions include: 911 Good Samaritan Bills, Naloxone (a non-narcotic drug that can reverse an overdose), drug treatment on demand, and harm reduction education. Julia Negron, a PATH Board member states, "100 lives are lost a day to preventable overdose. Thankfully we have 'Good Sam' laws in Florida and California, but we can do better. We need to reduce fear and stigma and provide training for Naloxone."

Denise Cullen, Founder of Broken No More and Moms United member said, "Accidental overdose, especially among our youth must end. The facts are out there, but the action is NOT. This is incomprehensible to me. There is something very wrong with a society that stands by and lets this continue even after they are made aware of the issue. We are losing our loved ones through addictive illness - and lack of action to prevent, treat, and cure this disease - because of stigma and prejudice. This can happen to anyone. Do not be fooled that it cannot happen to you. Please help, please pay attention, please act!"

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 people who currently and formerly used drugs that their lives are valued and that no one should ever die from a preventable fatal drug overdose.

Contact: Gretchen Burns Bergman – 619-670-1184
John O. Whitaker - 213-400-6542

SOURCE Alcohol Justice



Source: Hispanic PR Wire