COVID-19 may have temporarily put a stop to large gatherings, but the coronavirus pandemic is no match for the GOW Opioid Task Force’s commitment to informing the public of the dangers of opioid drug use and ways to prevent potentially deadly overdoses.
“Our Overdose Awareness Day is not able to be held this summer due to social distancing guidelines and restrictions on the use of parks, so we will be transitioning to an online event,” said Christen Ferraro, task force coordinator. “All the information that would have been shared at Austin Park in Batavia will be put on our Facebook page.”
Ferraro added that the task force plans to post – on a regular basis throughout August -- articles, videos, local data and stories from individuals that have been affected by an overdose.
Genesee/Orleans Public Health Director Paul Pettit, a member of the task force, said he is well aware of the widespread impact of the opioid epidemic.
“Any loss of life is devastating to a community,” he said. “The effect is far-reaching as it devastates the family system – economically as a number of financially productive years are lost and emotionally as no dollar amounts can equal the loss of a life due to addiction.”
Pettit said that setting aside a period of time, be it a month or a day, to remind people of the various issues surrounding opioid use is important.
“There are so many services available for those experiencing addictive behaviors or are experimenting with various substances, and we encourage people to use those services before it is too late,” he said.
Ferraro also advised that another virtual opioid overdose prevention and Narcan training is scheduled for Aug. 26, with sessions at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The training will cover the disease of addiction, a brief history of the opioid crisis, signs and symptoms of opioid use and overdose, the overdose reversal drug Narcan and the administration of Narcan.
Attendance is required at just one of the sessions for the participant to receive credit for the course.
“Those completing the training will learn more about how to prevent an opioid overdose and will receive a free Narcan nasal spray kit,” Ferraro said. “It is important to bring awareness to this day and the impact an overdose can have on an individual, their families and the community.”
The registration deadline is Aug. 24. To register, contact Ferraro at [email protected].
For more information and to see the event flyer, go to Facebook.com/gowopioidtaskforce.