Overdose Awareness Day set at church

YOUNGSTOWN — OhioCAN Mahoning County will commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day with activities 5 to 9 p.m. today at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 1105 Elm St.

The keynote speaker will be Linda Ogden, founder of Project 3MP LLC, who will share her story of chains, visible and invisible, and her firsthand knowledge of abuse, trauma, mental illness, homelessness, human trafficking and addiction.

Speakers and music begin at 7 p.m., with the event concluding at 9 p.m. with a candlelight vigil.

Hopeanne Lovrinoff-Moran, OhioCAN Mahoning County coordinator, said the health crisis has had a huge and devastating impact on the community with 72,000 deaths nationwide, 4,854 deaths in Ohio and 112 in Mahoning County in 2017.

“We are hard pressed to find anyone who has not been affected in some way. As such, it requires a community response,” she said.

Lovrinoff-Moran said the public is invited to the event in a show of solidarity and support with a desire to bring relief to those who are suffering and consider harm reduction initiatives to help lower the overdose death rate.

She said the event will include free Narcan training and distribution by the Mahoning County Board of Health from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with registration at 5.

In addition, luminarias will be tagged in remembrance of each citizen lost to overdose in Mahoning County in the last 12 months. Lighting is at 6:45 p.m. Luminarias will be available to attendees for free to light in remembrance of loved ones lost to overdoses.

IOAD is a global event held Aug. 31 each year to raise awareness of overdoses and reduce stigma of drug related deaths. IOAD spreads the message that the tragedy of an overdose death is preventable.