(Posted Aug. 10, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Madison County Mental Health and Addiction Task Force is hosting its 3rd Annual Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31, 5-7 p.m., in the parking lot at Madison County Public Health, 306 Lafayette St., London.
The family-friendly event serves two main purposes, one of which is to remember Madison County residents who have lost their lives this year due to drug overdose. The other is to make the public aware of resources they can access if they or loved ones are struggling with addiction.
“We want people to know that if they are struggling or if family or friends are struggling, they are not alone. There are people and resources to help,” said Lauren Sweeney, community health educator for Madison County Public Health.
Several agencies will be on hand to provide information about resources that can help with addiction, detox, recovery, mental health, and behavioral health.
The task force will conduct trainings at 5:30 p.m., 6, and 6:30 on how to use Naloxone, also known as Narcan, a medication that can reverse an opioid drug overdose. Depending on interest, a fourth training could take place at 7 p.m. at the close of the event. The group will hand out free DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) kits, each containing two doses of Narcan, a face shield, and gloves.
Task force members are gathering data from first responder agencies across the county to determine the number of people who have passed away due to overdose since January of this year. A pinwheel for each of those individuals will be displayed on the Madison County Courthouse lawn on Aug. 31. At the awareness event, visitors who have lost loved ones will be invited to write favorite memories on purple flags to be displayed during the event. Purple is the international color for overdose awareness.
The event also features a bounce house, children’s games, a Kona Ice truck, and free food, including hotdogs, chips, cookies, and water.
“We are hoping for a big turnout with more help and more agencies involved in the task force this year,” Sweeney said.
The Madison County Mental Health and Addiction Task Force includes representatives from Buckeye Recovery, Freedom Recovery, Madison County Job & Family Services, Madison County Prevention, the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Clark, Greene, and Madison Counties, and more. It is affiliated with the health department, and its activities are guided by the Community Health Improvement Plan.
The task force attends area festivals and events to promote awareness of the resources mentioned above, as well as 988, the national suicide prevention hotline. The group recently completed the HOPE Card, a resource guide that provides contact information for crisis lines and area agencies specializing in healthcare, legal assistance, food assistance, education, home repairs and utility help, housing, employment and finances, mental and behavioral health, recovery, and more.
For more information about Overdose Awareness Day, call Madison County Public Health at (740) 852-3065.
Narcan training and kits
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medication that can reverse an opioid drug overdose. Free trainings on how to use Narcan and free doses of the medication are available through Madison County Public Health.
To schedule a training for an individual or a group, call the health department at (740) 852-3065 or send email to email@example.com. Those who complete the training receive a Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) kit that contains two doses of Narcan, a face shield, and gloves.
Training and kits will be available at the 3rd Annual Overdose Awareness Day event set for Aug. 31 in the health department parking lot.
Another option is to visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/freenarcan. You will be asked to fill out an anonymous form. Participants who have not been trained on how to use Narcan are asked to watch a 16-minute educational video. DAWN kits are sent in the mail.