Southern Nevada Harm Reduction Alliance Hosts its Annual International Overdose Awareness Day Event, Aug. 29

By August 27, 2019 Press Release

In 2017, there were 464 fatal drug overdoses (excluding alcohol) in Clark County. Opioid-related overdoses and deaths continue to occur across the United States and the world. In an effort to acknowledge those deaths, the Southern Nevada Harm Reduction Alliance (SNHRA) is participating in its 3rd annual International Overdose Awareness Day, from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Thursday, August 29 at the Chuck Minker Sports Complex, 275 N. Mojave Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89101. The SNHRA will also offer overdose prevention trainings at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Participants will receive a free overdose prevention kit that contains nasal naloxone ((Narcan®), the opioid overdose reversal medication, as well as community resources. For more information about the event, visit http://www.overdoseday.com/las-vegas/  or https://www.facebook.com/SoNVHarmReductionAlliance/. 

The event is an opportunity for community members and partners to remember and acknowledge those who have died or who have suffered permanent injury, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and raise awareness and begin discussions about overdose prevention and drug policy.

Australia’s Penington Institute began International Overdose Awareness Day to offer awareness, education, and training about overdoses and as a memorial to individuals impacted by them. Events are now held worldwide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2017, and opioids (prescription and illicit) accounted for 47,600 of those deaths. The CDC estimates that on average, 130 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose.

Although opioid-related deaths in Clark County decreased since 2015, they continue to occur. In 2017, there were 281 opioid-related deaths among Clark County residents. In 2017, the death rate of opioid poisonings (overdoses) in Clark County was 12.7 deaths per 100,000 residents. The rate for Nevada during that same period was 13.7 deaths per 100,000 residents. The rate was highest in the 89101 and 89109 ZIP codes at 39 deaths per 100,000 residents. The national rate during that same period was 14.6 drug-poisoning deaths per 100,000 residents.  

In October 2017, the opioid epidemic was declared a national emergency highlighting the importance of providing viable resources, prevention education, and tools to combat addiction through treatment and recovery efforts. Between 1999 and 2017, the CDC reported that overdose death rates from all substances (excluding alcohol) are highest among people between the ages of 25 and 54. Men are more likely than women to die from an overdose. In addition, overdose rates are highest among non-Hispanic whites, Native Americans, and Alaskan natives.

The Southern Nevada Harm Reduction Alliance (SNHRA) is composed of public health professionals, HIV providers, addiction specialists, syringe exchange programs, homeless service providers, substance use prevention community coalitions, recovery advocates, and health care representatives. Its mission is to improve the health and well-being of people who use drugs by reducing drug-related stigma, overdoses, and the harmful effects of drugs among Southern Nevadans regardless of their circumstances. SNHRA also provides education and resources about reducing substance misuse and unintentional overdose deaths, as well as reducing the risks of acquiring or transmitting bloodborne infections. Each month, the Southern Nevada Health District, in conjunction with members of SNHRA, provides testing for HIV and hepatitis C, sterile syringes, and homeless services. In February 2017, the first comprehensive needle/syringe exchange program in Clark County began operating at Trac-B Exchange, a member of the Southern Nevada Harm Reduction Alliance. Currently, there are five syringe vending machines placed within service provider organizations.