Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
August 18, 2021
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held each year on August 31 to raise overdose awareness, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and acknowledge the grief felt by families, friends, and loved ones. At their August 17, 2021 Regular Meeting, the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) issued a Proclamation recognizes August 31, 2021 as “International Overdose Awareness Day.” Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare Prevention Supervisor Amy Pipkin and members of the Department of Health/Nassau were in attendance to accept the Proclamation.
Locally, Starting Point Behavior Healthcare is sponsoring a number of International Overdose Awareness Day outreach activities which assist recovering individuals and their families, and pays tribute to lives lost. Essential to the nation-wide fight against the overdose epidemic are law enforcement personnel, first responders, behavioral healthcare providers, doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work tirelessly to protect our communities.
City residents are encouraged to be prepared in the event a loved one is experiencing an opioid overdose by visiting ISAVEFL.com, a resource of local providers offering free Naloxone, a medication which can temporarily restore breathing, while waiting for emergency medical services.
Mayor Mike Lednovich expressed the City’s gratitude to Starting Point Behavior Healthcare professionals and staff who diligently work to ensure all individuals receive the quality mental healthcare and substance use treatments necessary to live healthy and productive lives.
Amy Pipkin in accepting the Proclamation stressed that every life is worth saving. She said that during the period January to June 2020 in comparison with the same period in 2019, deaths from drug overdoses have increased 275 percent. She said that those who have lost loved ones to drug overdoses should be able to publicly mourn their losses. “If we can’t save their lives, we can’t rehabilitate them,” Pipkin said. She also called on citizens to let former opioid users know that they are valued.
Starting Point provides free Narcan (naloxone), a nasal spray that can save lives if administered soon following a drug overdose.
Department of Health/Nassau representatives stressed the need to make people aware of the opioid crisis that affects all parts of the community. They stressed the need for people to reach out for both information and help in dealing with these issues.