Overdose Awareness: Local group to host vigil

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Between 2018 and 2020, approximately 2,500 Alabama deaths were attributed to overdose — an average of two people per day lost their lives to overdose in communities across the state.
In an effort to bring awareness to the growing epidemic across the country, a group of local professionals and concerned members of the community will be holding a special event.
Recovery Specialist Meagan White and Amanda Salter with People Engaged in Recovery (PIER) are spear-heading the event set for Aug. 31.
“International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event dedicated to recognizing those we have loved  and lost to overdose and those whose lives have been irreversibly changed by overdose,” White said. “It also will help to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death while educating our community on prevention, and available resources.”
The event will be in the form of a candlelight vigil set to begin at 6:30 p.m. on the lawn of the Escambia County Courthouse on Belleville Avenue in Brewton.
“We have partnered with many community resources that will have information available for everyone attending this event,” White said. “We will also have some special speakers and a community prayer service as we light candles in remembrance of the many lives lost to overdose.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 81,230 drug overdose deaths in the United States in the 12 months ending May 2020, the largest number ever recorded for a 12-month period. During that period, drug overdoses increased more than 20 percent in Alabama, resulting in the state being one of 25 with the highest increase, according to data with the Alabama Department of Mental Health
“As a Recovery Specialist, I often see the need for our community to be more informed about overdose, substance use disorder, and the resources available to those suffering from this disease,” White said. “My goal is that everyone who attends this event will leave more informed about overdose and substance use disorder. I also aim to offer hope to those suffering in our community by showing them they have support and resources available.”
Along with White and Salter, many other members of the community will be on hand to show their support for the awareness even.
“I am really looking forward to this event, I have received overwhelming support from so many people in our community,” White said. “Sheriff Heath Jackson, County Administrator Tony Sanks, Russell Clausell with Greater Love Fellowship and Escambia County Drug Court staff have all gone above and beyond to help bring this event together. I am so grateful to have their support. It really shows the love these individuals have for the community they serve.”
If anyone has any questions please call Meagan White at 251-236-3169.

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