WEST CHESTER, PA — As part of Chester County’s commitment to combat the opioid epidemic, the County’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Services announces its participation in “International Overdose Awareness Day” on Tuesday, August 31, 2021.
On this day, Chester County will join communities around the world in encouraging residents, businesses and organizations to raise awareness of the effects of opioid addiction, and reduce the stigma surrounding overdoses and drug-related deaths. Importantly, the County will focus on remembering the lives of those lost to overdose, and acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends who have lost a loved one.
From the morning of Tuesday, August 31st, 101 pinwheels, representing the 101 lives lost in Chester County to accidental overdose in 2020, will be displayed in front of the Chester County Justice Center on Market Street in West Chester and the County’s Government Services Center on Westtown Road.
On the evening of August 31st, a special “Night of Light” event will be held on the steps of the Historic Courthouse in West Chester, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend this event.
“This year, we will take time to remember those that we have tragically lost to substance use disorders, and also bring a message of hope to those working toward long-term recovery, including family and friends who are supporting them,” said Vince Brown, Executive Director of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services.
“Night of Light” will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a time to gather information and local resources that support those suffering from substance use disorder, plus a time to prepare messages of love and hope for luminary bags.
“This will be followed by a time of guest speakers, including the words of a mother who lost her son to substance use disorder, and a message from one of Chester County’s certified recovery specialists, who is on-call for hospital emergency rooms, to meet with those who have survived an overdose, and help to move them straight to recovery.
The evening will conclude with the lighting of luminaries and a moment of silence.
“Although we saw a slight decline in accidental overdoses last year in Chester County, substance use disorders are still extremely prevalent, and one life lost to the disease of addiction is one too many,” added Vince Brown.
Chester County remains committed to tackling the opioid and heroin epidemic through intensive health, education, treatment and law enforcement measures, coordinated by its Overdose Prevention Task Force.
The County recently announced the return of the Chester County Color 5K, an event aimed at raising awareness, reducing the stigma and raising funds to support overdose survivors, their families and friends. The Chester County Color 5K will be held in Everhart Park in West Chester on Saturday morning, October 9th. For more information, and to register to run or walk, go to www.chesco.org/color5k.
For more information and resources on all drug and alcohol services and programs, visit the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services website: www.chesco.org/DrugandAlcohol, or call the Chester County Information and Referral line at 866-286-3767.
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