Representatives from Moms Stop the Harm, the Support Not Stigma initiative, and community partners from Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (KFL&A) are convening on August 31, 2023, to observe International Overdose Awareness Day. This event is scheduled to take place at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 560, located at 734 Montreal Street, Kingston.
The global toll of DRUG overdose claims lives annually, with survivors often enduring harm that affects families and friends. Kingston has not been spared from this issue. It is possible that you or someone you know has been impacted. Tragedy can easily befall a loved one, as the crisis of drug poisoning and overdose has endured too long in the shadows.
International Overdose Awareness Day serves as a platform to discuss overdose prevention in our community. Factual information about drugs, the perilous supply, and appropriate actions to take during an overdose incident is instrumental in preserving lives.
Andrea Keller, an advocate of Moms Stop the Harm, emphasizes the gravity of this day: “International Overdose Awareness Day is an occasion for collective recognition of the escalating medical emergency that claims lives each day. It’s an opportunity to educate, champion, and diminish the stigma attached to substance usage and toxic drug poisoning. Personally, it’s a day to honor my son, Tyler, whose life was cut short due to multi-drug toxic drug poisoning.”
This crisis does not discriminate; it jeopardizes everyone, even those we hold dear. As long as addiction remains unrecognized as a medical affliction, the absence of compassion and equitable access to treatment will continue affecting families and individuals as Andrea Keller’s family has experienced.
The day’s itinerary is as follows:
- From 2:00 PM to 5:30 PM: Community Partner Booths
- From 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM: Launch of the Support Not Stigma Media Campaign
- From 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM: Guest Speakers
- From 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM: Candlelight Vigil and Weather-Permitting Sacred Fire
At 3:00 PM on that same day, the KFL&A Community Drug Strategy Advisory Committee and Trellis HIV & Community Care are launching an anti-stigma campaign. The objective of this initiative is to raise awareness about the stigma surrounding substance use and its implications on individuals’ lives. The campaign aspires to humanize those who use substances, promoting empathy and understanding by illuminating the role of trauma as the underpinning of addiction.
For those interested in contributing to a more compassionate Kingston for individuals grappling with substance use, detailed information can be accessed at supportnotstigma.ca.
Image source: supportnotstigma