August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day and counties across Maryland are using the day to honor the memory of those who succumbed to overdose and prevent additional loss of life.
According to the Overdose Operational Command Center (OOCC), 177 Marylanders lost their lives due to a fatal overdose between April of 2021 and April of 2022. As has become custom, Governor Larry Hogan ordered all flags in Maryland to be flown at half-staff in remembrance of people around the world who have lost their lives to drug overdose and to help raise awareness regarding the substance use crisis. He reflected on the lives impacted by overdose in a press release:
‘The disease of addiction affects all Maryland communities, and I invite all Marylanders to join me in honoring the lives we have lost to this crisis,’ said Governor Hogan. ‘It is also important that we lift up the stories of those in recovery. We know that treatment and recovery works, and it is my sincerest hope raising awareness will help others on their recovery journeys.’
Maryland’s counties have also sought to spread the message of International Overdose Awareness Day. Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties are joining together to host an event featuring stories of recovery and providing community resources to prevent overdose. Similarly, Howard County’s Opioid Crisis Community Council will be holding a candle light vigil featuring naloxone (an overdose reversal drug) training and an overdose response demonstration. In addition to lowering flags on the commemorative holiday, Harford County will promote September as National Recovery Month, which will include a month-long social media campaign with inspirational recovery stories, treatment resources, and event information.