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Overdose Awareness Day observed in OKC, raises awareness about addiction

Shane Smith / Red Dirt Report
Attendees of the Overdose Awareness Day Remembrance Ceremony dropped roses into the water to remember their loved ones lost to addiction.
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NORMAN, Okla.- The death of a loved one affects so many people, particularly when those deaths feel senseless and unnecessary.  The epidemic of overdose deaths in the United States has instilled a sense of helplessness in millions of people who would never have dreamed they or their loved ones would be touched by it. 

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global campaign that aims to bring more attention to the tragedy of overdoses, as well as provide support to the families and friends of overdose victims.  On Thursday morning, the Addiction Recovery Center of Oklahoma (ARC) hosted a ceremony by the water’s edge at the Myriad Gardens for loved ones of overdose victims.  Attendees observed a moment of silence for the lives lost to addiction, and then dropped roses into the water. 

“The first line of defense is getting the families help because it really is a family disease.  The more education they have, the better the chances their loved one will seek help," said Kim Farris, Director of Operations at The Addiction Recovery Center.

Farris believes the newly-formed Oklahoma Commission on Opioid Abuse will have a positive impact in the midst of the opioid crisis. 

“I think it’s gotten Oklahoma’s attention, that we do not want the rise in the number of overdose deaths that many other states have experienced,” she said. 

Amy Woolery, vice president of ARC, spoke briefly at the ceremony before the moment of silence.

“International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event that is held this day each year which aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths.  It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends, remembering those that have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.  In the United States alone, we average 120 deaths per day.  This no longer has to be our truth.  Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose deaths is preventable.  It is with our deepest sympathies that we extend our condolences to all of those who are remembering today a loved one lost to overdose.  We offer our thoughts and prayers and hope for the future.”

Globally, there are an estimated 190,000 drug-related deaths each year.  The United States, with four percent of the world’s population but 27 percent of the world’s overdose deaths, leads the world in drug-related deaths.  Five hundred thousand U.S. citizens are predicted to die from an overdose over the next decade unless something is done to prevent it.  One very important step taken by ARC is spreading the message that addiction is a family disease; families and friends play a crucial role in helping their loved one emerge from addiction.

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Shane Smith

Shane Smith is an accountant and freelance writer with a bachelor's degree in economics from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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