LEONARDTOWN, MD – International Overdose Awareness Day is observed annually on August 31st to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose.
This year, in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day and leading into National Recovery Month, the St. Mary’s County Health Department is launching an online map of naloxone dispensary boxes that are located throughout the county for use in emergency overdose situations. These emergency boxes expand access to naloxone or Narcan®, a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, helping keep an overdose victim alive until medical help arrives.
Currently, there are over 20 emergency naloxone dispensary boxes placed at local businesses and organizations throughout St. Mary’s County. This year, grant funding will support placing an additional 39 emergency dispensary boxes in the community.
“Expanding the awareness and availability of naloxone is a key part of the public health response to the opioid epidemic,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “Naloxone is safe, easy to use, and when given in time can save a life from a fatal opioid overdose. Naloxone is available without a prescription for any interested community members, through our health department or local pharmacies.”
Community members that would like to learn more about opioids, how to recognize an overdose, and how to administer naloxone are encouraged to sign up for SMCHD’s Overdose Response Program. This free training is offered virtually and participants receive a free rescue kit that includes naloxone.
To learn more about the Overdose Response Program and to view the mapped emergency naloxone dispensary box locations, please visit smchd.org/overdose.
To learn more about how you can stop stigma and promote recovery in support of International Overdose Awareness Day and National Recovery Month, please visit smchd.org/gopurple.