Press Release  | 08/26/2014

Moms United to End the War on Drugs Representatives Organize Events and Vigils for International Overdose Awareness Day (August 31)

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Each Day in the United States 105 People Die of Accidental Overdose

A New PATH and Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign partners in the U.S. and abroad will participate in International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 and the week prior to it. These events honor and remember those who have lost their lives to an overdose. It is also an opportunity to educate policymakers and the public about the growing overdose crisis in the United States and abroad – and to offer concrete solutions that save lives. Each day 105 people die of accidental overdose in the United States.

Moms United to end the War on Drugs national partners are holding events and vigils to bring awareness to the crisis of accidental fatal overdoses. Through their “Ask Mom How to Save a Life” campaign they are providing overdose education, training and naloxone kits to prevent opioid overdose deaths. Moms are leading the charge to end the violence, mass incarceration and overdose deaths that are the result of current punitive policies.

“As a mother of two sons who have struggled with heroin addiction, one of whom almost died of an accidental overdose, I feel it is my right and responsibility to have naloxone in my medicine cabinet, because every moment counts in saving a precious life,” said Gretchen Burns Bergman, Lead organizer of the Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign. She continues, “Why isn't naloxone made as available as an epi-pen or other common antidote? The answer is misguided moralistic judgment and ignorance about the true nature of addictive illness.”

A New PATH is holding a naloxone training and candle light vigil in San Diego on August 28, and a  “Performance art meets political Action Die In” in Los Angeles on August 31. In New York, St. Anne’s Corner of Harm Reduction /La Cueva will host its Annual International Overdose Prevention Awareness Day on August 28, 2014, including a prevention and response training, art competition and candle light vigil. Mommieactivist and sons radio show will devote the hour to a weigh in on the devastation of the war on drugs, including the accidental overdose deaths that are a result of current punitive and discriminatory drug policies at 6:30pm EST on August 31 in Washington, D.C.

“Naloxone saved my life 5 times. Today, my children have a mother! Today I help others in recovery transition to self-sufficiency and regain their lives and families,” said Maria Alexander from Los Angeles. Julia Negron from Florida states that “Half of all overdoses happen at home.  It’s heartbreaking to work with mothers who’ve lost kids and realize intervention with naloxone could have saved them.”

A New PATH and Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign representatives are stepping up efforts to educate the public about the overdose crisis and to highlight solutions to the problem. With knowledge, training and the right tools, overdose is reversible. There are solutions that can save lives, such as “Good Samaritan” immunity laws that encourage people who are witnessing an overdose to call 911 without fear of arrest, and expanding access to naloxone, a non-narcotic drug that reverses an overdose.

Denise Cullen, founder of Broken No More and member of Moms United who lost her son to an accidental overdose said, “We are losing our loved ones through addictive illness and lack of action to prevent/treat/cure this disease because of stigma and prejudice.  This can happen to anyone. 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 current and former drug users that their lives are valued and that no one should ever die from a preventable fatal drug overdose.

For more information on Moms United to End the War on Drugs Overdose Awareness activities: www.momsunited.net or contact A New PATH at gretanewpath [at] cox [dot] net.

Moms United to End the War on Drugs – A Campaign of A New PATH

2014 International Overdose Awareness Events

New York: St. Anne’s Corner of Harm Reduction /La Cueva will host its Annual International Overdose Prevention Awareness Day on August 28, 2014 at our new central office located at 886 Westchester Avenue, Bronx, New York. The day will include Overdose Prevention and Response Training with naloxone kits, an art competition, candle light vigil and awards ceremony. On September 9, 2014. SACHR will join New York City’s Department of Health & Mental Health commemoration with a training at the intersection of 139th Street and St. Ann’s Avenue, Bronx, New York. 10451. For info: 718.585.5544 x 312 or sturner [at] sachr [dot] org

San Diego, CA: A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) along with community partners including ACLU, GRASP, and NORML Women’s Alliance will remember and honor individuals who have lost their lives to overdose, and to the failed war on drugs on at 6pm Thursday, August 28, 2014.  The event, held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego, includes naloxone training and distribution, a press conference and a Candlelight Vigil. For info: 619-670-1184 or anewpath [at] cox [dot] net.

Los Angeles, CA: International Overdose Awareness Day of Action Aug 31, 2014 10:30am - www.anewpathsite.org The Los Angeles chapter of A New PATH will join with community partners including Drug Policy Alliance, Paso Por Paso, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Amity Foundation and Broken-No-More to hold a “performance art” happening to prevent accidental overdose at the Santa Monica Pier.  This action is part of the national Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign. Advocates will stage a “Die In” to bring awareness to those lost through accidental overdose. We will then hold a rally to promote greater access to Naloxone.  For info: 619-670-1184 or anewpath [at] cox [dot] net.

Washington, D.C.: On Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014 Mommieactivist and sons radio show will devote the hour to a weigh in on the devastation of the war on drugs, including the accidental overdose deaths that are a result of current punitive and discriminatory drug policies at 6:30pm EST. Guest speakers are Gretchen Burns Bergman and Denise Cullen from the national Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign.

Call in number: 1 347-994-1713; email mommieactivist [at] gmail [dot] com or go to www.blogtalkradio.com/mommieactivist.

Pittsburgh, PA: Moms United partners are making progress with a naloxone bill and a 911 Good Samaritan bill and are using the month of August to raise awareness about these lifesaving policies.  Info: Karenplavan [at] gmail [dot] com.

Dallas, Texas: Mothers Against Teen Violence is working to assure that a bill increasing access to naloxone will be filed when the Texas legislature convenes in January.

One Florida Suncoast; Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte Counties.  On August 31st we remember with love those we have lost and send hope to those still struggling. We honor the lives of those we love and say #NotOneMore. International Overdose Awareness Day VIGIL for Remembrance, Action and Hope. Sunday, August 31 at 8:00pm. Ricaltini's Bar and Grille, 1997 Kentucky Ave, in Englewood, Florida. Info: Julia [at] negron [dot] com

Article in Huffington Post by Joy Strickland: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joy-strickland/overdose-awareness-day-is_b...

Contact: Gretchen Burns Bergman 619-670-1184/ gretanewpath@cox.net

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