Of the more than 72,000 preventable drug overdoses in the country in 2017, more than 47,000 involved opioids.

August is Overdose Awareness Month with International Overdose Awareness Day, a global event held on Aug. 31 each year, aimed to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma and risks associated with a drug overdose. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury because of a drug overdose.

Thousands die each year from a drug overdose. The victims come from all walks of life. Overdose Awareness Month spreads the message that overdose death is preventable.

Of the 25,383 overdoses reported in Tennessee in 2018, there were 1,818 that were fatal. Eighteen of those were in Monroe County.

The Monroe County Prevention & Wellness Coalition (PWC) offers free NARCAN® training and distribution. Interested parties can learn the signs and symptoms of an overdose and receive two free units of NARCAN® Nasal Spray, which may counteract the life-threatening effects of an opioid overdose.

Since most accidental overdoses occur in a home setting, this was developed for first responders, as well as family, friends, and caregivers — with no medical training required. NARCAN® Nasal Spray does not, however, take the place of emergency medical care.

To assist in the awareness efforts, the PWC has a social media campaign for the month of August and they are planning an Overdose Awareness and Prevention Event for Aug. 29 from noon until 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the Monroe County Health Council’s office, which is located at 615 Warren Street in Madisonville, weather permitting.

During this event, there will be free NARCAN® training and distribution, a no-contact drug take back event to safely dispose of expired and unused drugs, prevention education materials for parents and caregivers, Dispose RX (a safe at-home medication disposal product) distribution, free giveaways while supplies last, a memorial wall in honor of lost loved ones to addiction, and “Revealed: A Hidden World,” which is an interactive display for parents and guardians as an education tool for teen substance abuse prevention aimed to help show families the importance of detecting the use of drugs and alcohol in their own home will be set up as well.

For more information, call 423-454-3015 or email monroepwc@gmail.com.

To stay up to date on PWC events, follow the PWC on social media by visiting Facebook at facebook.com/drugfreemonroe or Instagram at instagram.com/monroecountypwc.

If you would like to schedule a free NARCAN® training at a time separate from the event, please contact the PWC to make arrangements.

If you would like to make a submission for the upcoming event’s memorial wall, e-mail a photo (if available), the person’s name, and the person’s age to the e-mail address above.

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