International Overdose Awareness Day marked its 21st anniversary on August 31st. Its purpose is to raise awareness of overdoses, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends and spread the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic and opioid crisis have converged, and overdose fatalities, that had fallen in recent years, seem to be heading back to an all-time high.
Community Cares groups from Lindenhurst, Town of Babylon, and Copiague, in conjunction with the Suffolk County Police Department, held a “Drive-Up & Drop-Off” event for unused, unwanted, expired medicine, followed by a Candlelight Vigil. The safe disposal of medicines helps to prevent the drugs from falling into the hands of people who might abuse them.
Mayor Michael Lavorata said, “The Lindenhurst Community Cares Coalition event and Candlelight Vigil sends a strong message to current and former substance users that they are loved, valued, and that overdose death is preventable. The vigil was also a time to remember, without stigma, those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of those who have lost loved ones due to substance abuse.”
Pictured here (left to right) are: Legislative Aide Anne Parmely from NYS Senator Phil Boyle’s Office, Mayor Michael Lavorata, Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer, Copiague Community Cares’ Sharon Fattoruso, Lindenhurst Community Cares’ Lori-Ann Novello, and TJ Hatter from the NYS Attorney General’s Office.