August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. Public awareness has been growing the past several years as the opioid epidemic grows and gains a larger place in local and national news. The numbers behind this surge of awareness are grim. 2017 saw 72,000 overdose deaths nationwide, an increase of about 10% from the year before.
We as a nation are obviously aware of this problem, so on Overdose Awareness Day, what can we do to work beyond the numbers and make change every other day? One way to start is leveraging your social network— share these two simple apps with everyone you know:
- The Celebrating Lost Loved Ones map. It is so important to share the stories of real people behind the overdose count. This map was created to do just that, in the hope that it will break the stigma around talking about drug overdoses. It also has a geographic component, so anyone can zoom in and see the impact of opioids on their city or town, empowering them to get more involved. With over 1,600 families that have crowdsourced and added their loved one to the map, nearly everywhere in the United State and Canada has stories.
- The National Naloxone Access map. Everyone can help save lives simply by educating themselves about access to Naloxone, a medication used to counter the effects of opioid overdoses. If you know someone that may be struggling with opioid addiction, arming yourself with Naloxone can help you save a life. This map shows over 25,000 locations through the country where anyone can obtain Naloxone, though it is recommended that you call first to confirm availability and pricing.
While more people are recognizing the impact of the opioid epidemic, it can still be quickly dismissed if that impact doesn’t feel personal and locally relevant. By bringing awareness through localized, interactive maps, you can help those in your community realize their power to make a difference, and potentially save a life.