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  • Writer's pictureStaff Reporter

International Overdose Awareness Day Highlights Survivors, Care Providers and Victims

Governor Kathy Hochul announced on August 31, 2023, that numerous landmarks and bridges spanning New York would be aglow with purple and silver hues, a gesture marking the observance of International Overdose Awareness Day. This globally recognized event centers on commemorating those who have passed away due to overdoses, dismantling the stigma around overdoses, and recognizing the sorrow experienced by families and friends left in the wake.

"In a manner shared by many New Yorkers, I have personally witnessed the toll that addiction and substance use takes on families," remarked Hochul. "As we stand in acknowledgment of International Overdose Awareness Day, I call upon all New Yorkers to unite in bolstering survivors of overdoses, remembering those ensnared by addiction, and honoring healthcare providers who strive daily to aid individuals in their battle against addiction."

The following 14 landmarks and bridges will radiate in purple and silver to commemorate International Overdose Awareness:

  • One World Trade Center

  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge

  • Kosciuszko Bridge

  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building

  • State Education Building

  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building

  • Empire State Plaza

  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center

  • Niagara Falls

  • The "Franklin D. Roosevelt" Mid-Hudson Bridge

  • Albany International Airport Gateway

  • MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station

  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal

  • Moynihan Train Hall

"To recognize Overdose Awareness Day is to confront the urgency of our collective duty to prevent the tragedies culminating in overdoses. In our pursuit of a healthier future, we must not only mourn the departed, but also channel our grief into actions that can rescue others. Every life holds value, and embracing harm reduction initiatives stands as a testament to both compassion and practicality," emphasized Dr. James V. McDonald, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health.

The Department of Health cultivates an atmosphere of empathy and assistance by furnishing access to resources such as free naloxone through statewide community overdose prevention programs, including free fentanyl and xylazine test strips. This empowerment guides individuals toward safer choices and transformative journeys.

"The opioid and overdose crisis has cast its shadow over individuals, families, and communities across New York State. This observance serves as a reminder of the profound impact this crisis has wrought, and grants us an opportunity to acknowledge those touched by addiction while extending our support and rallying together to avert further overdose fatalities. New York remains steadfast in its dedication to tackling this public health emergency, collaborating with partners to extend essential aid and support to all New Yorkers," asserted Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, Commissioner of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS).

OASAS continues to underpin overdose prevention endeavors statewide, including educational campaigns through the Project COPE initiative. This initiative imparts guidance on obtaining and using naloxone, procuring fentanyl and xylazine test strips, and locating assistance for those impacted by addiction. The agency also provides free virtual naloxone training. The schedule for these training sessions can be accessed via the OASAS website.

On September 13, 2023, individuals are cordially invited to partake in New York State's third annual Overdose Awareness Days, jointly sponsored by the State's Department of Health and OASAS. Additionally, New Yorkers are encouraged to engage in local overdose awareness events highlighted on the Community Calendar of Overdose Awareness Day Events.

New Yorkers grappling with addiction or supporting loved ones in similar situations can discover solace and assistance by dialing the state's toll-free, 24/7 HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY (1-877-846-7369) or texting HOPENY (Short Code 467369).

Comprehensive addiction treatment, spanning crisis intervention, detox, inpatient and outpatient care, can also be pinpointed using the NYS OASAS Treatment Availability Dashboard at or via the NYS OASAS website.


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