Overdose Tribute, a photo memorial to those lost.Community events scheduled for Madison, St. Clair, Bond, and Clinton Counties

GRANITE CITY – Those in the recovery community know the importance of reducing the stigma that surrounds substance use and accidental overdose. Chestnut Health Systems™, in partnership with other community organizations, has planned events to raise awareness, remember those lost to overdose, and support family members and friends impacted by overdose and substance use. The events will happen on August 31, Overdose Awareness Day, and during September, designated as National Recovery Month.

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Background

In 1989, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) launched National Recovery Month to increase awareness surrounding mental health and substance use. SAMHSA also wanted to celebrate success stories to show that living in recovery from substance use is possible.

Sally J. Finn, who was working at a needle and syringe exchange program at The Salvation Army in Melbourne, Australia, founded International Overdose Awareness Day in 2001. The day provides an opportunity for people to publicly mourn loved ones impacted by overdose; to stimulate discussion about overdose prevention and drug policy, and to inform people about substance use support services.

Events

August 31 – Public education and NARCAN® distribution at the Belleville MetroLink station. NARCAN reverses the effects of opioid overdose. A person does not have to be a medical professional to administer it. This project is in cooperation with the St. Clair County Transit District. SCCTD and Chestnut partner to address challenging behaviors – many of them related to mental health conditions or substance use – by some transit system riders.

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August 31 – Distribution of NARCAN® and fentanyl testing strips, education about both, and Medication Assisted Recovery (MAR) walk-in appointments at Chestnut Family Health Center, 50 Northgate Industrial Drive, Granite City. Fentanyl testing strips are a harm reduction technique to reduce the risk of fatal overdose. Treatment professionals consider MAR to be the gold standard in addiction treatment. Patients benefit from medication that reduces drug cravings and lessens withdrawal symptoms as well as from counseling. Both are crucial to achieving and maintaining recovery.

August 31 – Overdose awareness event in Bond County. Location: Courthouse lawn – 200 W. College Avenue in Greenville. Hours – 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Guest speakers, remembrances of those lost to overdose. Co-sponsor: Bond County Recovery Council.

September 1 – Overdose awareness event in Clinton County. Location: Breese Northside Park main pavilion. Hours: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Education, awareness-raising, and remembrances of those lost to overdose. Co-sponsor: Take Action Coalition of Clinton County.

*September 1-10 – Donation of children’s and adult books on recovery to libraries in Madison, St. Clair, Bond, and Clinton Counties. The libraries will display resources about mental health, substance use, and where to get NARCAN.

*September 11Rockin’ for Recovery at Bethalto Park. Amare serves as the event organizer. Chestnut is a sponsor. Educational resources, Narcan distribution.

*September 19 – Faith Community partnership. Distribution of information for area church bulletins and acknowledgment of individuals who use substances or are seeking/maintaining recovery.

*September 23 – Facebook Live panel discussion about substance use and recovery from the perspectives of a parent, a person in recovery, and a treatment provider. Time: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

*Co-sponsored by the Metro-East and Bond County Recovery Councils and by the Take Action Coalition of Clinton County.

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