PHILADELPHIA–In response to a public health crisis unlike anything in the last century, the City of Philadelphia recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day. This is a global event held on August 31st every year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death.
Philadelphia had close to 1,300 overdose deaths last year — the vast majority from opioids — and almost 300 in the first quarter of this year. And if you think those statistics are far removed from your life and reflect a moral failing on the part of the victims, Health Department spokesman James Garrow says, that is exactly why the city chose to observe this day.
“This day really hopes to bring it out into light that overdose happens to regular people and we should all be more cognizant of the humanity that’s suffering with these problems,” Garrow said.
By Pat Loeb
As the city has stepped up its screening efforts, it has documented more new cases, said Dr. Lenore Asbel, a medical specialist with the department.
“I don’t know if there is a substantial increase as much as there is an increase in our being able to find people who are infected,” she said.
By Darryl C. Murphy