Today is Overdose Awareness Day in Massachusetts, and residents throughout the state as well as some here locally in Berkshire County, are taking time to remember those who have fallen victim to this devastating problem. The day is primarily to raise awareness of the issue, to reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, to remember those who have died, and to encourage discussion about overdose prevention and drug policy as it stands locally, in Massachusetts, around the country, and even beyond our borders.

According to the administration of Governor Charlie Baker, Between 1999 and 2019, the opioid overdose crisis claimed nearly 500,000 lives in the United States. The more unbelievable statistic is that each day an average of 136 Americans die from an overdose on prescription pain medication, heroin, or fentanyl. That's just unacceptable.

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Governor Charlie Baker issued a proclamation declaring August 31st Overdose Awareness Day in Massachusetts. Here is a portion of what he said:

As a national public health crisis, the opioid overdose epidemic continues to devastate our communities not only through the tremendous loss of life and associated trauma to families and loved ones, but also through a profound economic strain on individuals and families in health care costs, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement …[and]…we should be encouraged to continue in our efforts to provide our loved ones, friends, coworkers, and neighbors with the support they need to overcome addiction.

You can download and read the full proclamation HERE if you like.

Here in Berkshire County, Rural Recovery will be observing International Overdose Awareness Day in South County with a remembrance vigil at 6:00 tonight at the Town Hall Park gazebo in Great Barrington. 

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