For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Jasmine Budnella, 720-480-5262, jasmine@vocal-ny.org

Kassandra Frederique, 646-209-0374, kfrederique@drugpolicy.org

Follow updates on Twitter: #EndOverdoseNY

Friday 8/31: International Overdose Awareness Day March

Activists and community members unite in pain and anger to March from city morgue to Gov. Cuomo’s office calling for action

Representatives from all five boroughs will demand the governor prioritize responsive, evidence-based policies to combat statewide overdose crisis

New York, NY - Activists and family members who have lost loved ones to overdose will march through Manhattan on International Overdose Awareness Day to demand Gov. Cuomo take action on the overdose crisis. Amid the seventh straight year of increased overdose deaths in NYC--2017 being the deadliest year on record--the community will bring pictures and stories of their loved ones to Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office and demand he takes action with evidence-based public health interventions to end the crisis.

Speakers will criticize the Governor’s inaction on addressing preventable overdoses, and demand he implements policies highlighted in the End Overdose NY platform. The campaign will launch their budget demands, including statewide funding for naloxone, medication-assisted treatment in prisons and jails, ensuring access to buprenorphine in all hospitals (the gold standard for opioid treatment), and the implementation of Overdose Prevention Centers.

Criminal justice reform advocates, housing activists, and drug policy experts will join the families to illustrate how the crisis is an intersectional social justice issue.

What: International Overdose Awareness Day March

When: August 31st 10:30 to 2pm

Where: NYC Morgue - 462 1st Ave NYC (Meet at the corner of East 27th/1st Ave)

March to Governor Cuomo’s NYC Office - 633 3rd Ave, NYC

Background:

More people are dying from an overdose than homicides, suicides, and traffic accidents combined—1,441 people in NYC died in 2017, one every six hours. The impact is heightened for marginalized New Yorkers: overdose is the leading cause of death among people living in NYC shelters; people leaving incarceration are 40 times more likely to overdose in the first two weeks of release; and last year, the fatal overdoses increased 86% among Black people in the five boroughs (the largest increase among all demographics).

Governor Cuomo promised a new stream of revenue to combat the crisis through the Opioid Stewardship Fund passed in last year’s budget. Yet, his “investment” proved to be meaningless as the revenue supplanted funding for pre-existing programs. The Governor’s administration has yet to approve the Overdose Prevention Centers pilot program in New York City, and has done little to move forward progressive policies to comprehensively address the crisis other than empty promises.

Since 2001, International Overdose Awareness Day has been a day to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of substance-related death. Every year on August 31st, people across the world hold events to remember lives lost to overdose. Advocates in New York City will join the world on International Overdose Awareness Day by spreading awareness and demanding action.

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