DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – International Overdose Awareness Day is Aug. 31 every year. This year, organizations throughout the Miami Valley are ensuring community members are aware of treatment and prevention resources in their neighborhoods.
“Last year we lost 323 individuals to overdose, which Harm Reduction Ohio from Miami County actually did a visual representation [of], and we have 323 pairs of shoes sitting in our lobby for those lives that we lost,” said Leah Spence, staff coordinator for Woodhaven Residential Treatment Center.
Spence said that number represents overdose deaths in Montgomery County alone. That’s why professionals at Woodhaven say they are committed to placing resources at community members’ fingertips through Tuesday’s awareness and prevention event.
“Montgomery County has been impacted with drug overdoses for a long time now and I thought it was important that Woodhaven as a residential treatment center, [that] we did something in remembrance of those we’ve lost to overdoses and for those that are seeking help to prevent overdoses,” said Spence.
But overdose cases are a concern across the state as well. Erin Lloyd, a health planner at the Clark County Combined Health District, said one way loved ones can help save lives is by reaching out to local rehabilitation centers.
“McKinley Hall, Ethan Crossing, Brightview — all of those places … can also give information on how to speak to the addict in your family and [make] suggestions on ways to kind of get them through the door,” she said.
She said part of awareness is also knowing the signs of overdose and how to respond if you do have a loved one who struggles with addiction. And while a critical piece of awareness and prevention is finding the right treatment, experts said other components include patience and community participation.
“Love them through it because a lot of people that are in active addiction aren’t really themselves at that point.” said Lloyd.
“That’s why we have an event going on just like this — so people know that there is support in the community and that they’re not alone,” said Bradley Houseman, housing director at Woodhaven.
Houseman added, those looking for treatment should check with their insurance companies for a list of certified providers, or they reach out to a local rehabilitation center. More information and resources can be found below.
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