A Day of Remembrance and Awareness

On August 31, Westchester County Executive George Latimer officially recognized International Overdose Awareness Day, a day-long event that symbolizes the largest annual campaign to end overdose. The event was created to honor the lives of individuals lost to overdose, and to recognize the people, providers and programs in Westchester County, and New York State, that work to reduce overdoses and the stigma that is attached to them.

This year’s theme was “recognizing those people who go unseen.” The event was created to help spread awareness about overdoses and share prevention strategies, as well as encourage support and recovery for those impacted by substance abuse and overdose.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “Overdose deaths can be prevented, and in Westchester County, we are doing everything we can to stop death by overdose. It isn’t always easy to speak up if you think a family member or friend is struggling with addiction, but if you let that intimidation get the best of you, the result could be incredibly tragic. On International Overdose Awareness Day, let us come together with our community partners and organizations to stop overdose deaths in Westchester.”

Westchester County Commissioner of the Department of Community Mental Health Michael Orth said: “Today marks a day in which we make an extra effort to recognize those who have gone through, or lost someone to opioid abuse. Every day we hear about overdose, about fentanyl, about opioid abuse. Every day we should pause to acknowledge those who battle this disease and those family members who live with the consequences of overdose. We come together on this day to reflect, but to also equip our communities with resources and support. DCMH working with our partners in the community continue the mission providing prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery to those in need. I thank all the organizations who join us in making people aware that there is hope.”

NCADD/Westchester Executive Director Joan Bonsignore said: “NCADD/Westchester, Inc., is proud to partner with the Department of Community Mental Health and community groups and to bring together this day of reflection here in Westchester. Our children are dying. Over a 12-month period ending in 2021, more than 108,000 people died of overdose in this country—we must address this epidemic immediately. We ask everyone to partner with us to save the lives of our loved ones and to promise our children a future as bright as the one promised to us. Today we are called to action, meaning everyone must step up, show up, and make an impact in our communities. Your help is needed now more than ever—silence is deadly.”

The event was co-sponsored by Westchester County, City of White Plains, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence/Westchester, Friends of Recovery, Westchester Providers and other members of the recovery community.