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PRESS RELEASE! Hamilton County Coalition Recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day

HAMILTON COUNTY, TN - Local communities in Tennessee and around the world are

coming together on August 31 to remember those who have died or suffered permanent injury due to drug overdose. Observed on August 31 every year, International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) seeks to create a better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use. Global overdose rates have skyrocketed in the last decade. In 2020, an estimated 284 million people worldwide had used a drug in the past 12 months, a 26 percent increase from 2010. The situation is especially severe in Tennessee. In 2021, data from the Tennessee Department of Health showed that there were 3,814 drug overdose deaths, an increase of 26 percent from 2020. “By coming together to remember them, we stand together to say that more needs to be done to end overdose in our community,” said Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist Debra Clark Morgan. “We encourage members of the community with lived experience to come to our event and to stand in solidarity with those who have been personally affected by overdose.” International Overdose Awareness Day is convened by Penington Institute, an Australian nonprofit. The campaign theme this year is “Recognizing those who go unseen.” They honor the people whose lives have been altered by overdose, such as family and friends grieving the loss of a loved one, workers in healthcare and support services, or spontaneous first responders who have assumed the role of a lifesaver. International Overdose Awareness Day Events The Hamilton County Coalition is hosting events at four locations from 9 AM to 12 PM on IOAD. Events will include guest speakers, recognition of loved ones, giveaways, educational resources, support groups, and a reading of the proclamation signed by City Mayor Tim Kelly at each of the following locations:

  • Hamilton Family YMCA, 7430 Shallowford Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421

  • North River Family YMCA, 4138 Hixson Pike, Chattanooga, TN 37415

  • Downtown Family YMCA, 301 W 6th Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402

  • Cleveland Family YMCA, 220 Urbane Road NE, Cleveland, TN 37312

The Hamilton County Coalition is also partnering with the Zack Meservey Foundation and the City of Chattanooga for Light Up the Sky. This event

The Hamilton County Coalition Recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day

will include candle lighting in memory of loved ones, fellowship, prayer, and community support.

  • When: Thursday, August 31, 8 PM to 9 PM

  • Where: Heritage Park, 1428 Jenkins Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421

A full list of the IOAD 2023 events currently planned around the world can be found at: ###

Maddie Franklin, MPH

Public Health Outreach & Communications Coordinator

Hamilton County Coalition

5721 Marlin Road, Suite 6100

Chattanooga, TN 37416

(423) 305-1449 Office

Serving: Bledsoe, Bradley, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, and Sequatchie Counties

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