According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in Tennessee, drug overdose deaths involving opioids totaled 1,307 in 2018 (a rate of 19.9). Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (mainly fentanyl and fentanyl analogs) increased from 590 (a rate of 9.3) in 2017 to 827 (a rate of 12.8) in 2018.
Drug-Free Tennessee (DFT) has long warned youth and adults alike on the dangers of drug abuse, and on September 1st, an event is being held for International Overdose Awareness Day with special guest speaker Michael Deleon, founder of Steered Straight.
International Overdose Awareness Day was initiated in 2001 by Sally J Finn at The Salvation Army in St Kilda, Melbourne. Since 2001, many community members as well as government and non-government organizations have held events to raise awareness and commemorate those who have been lost to drug overdose. According to OverdoseDay.org, “International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.”
Drug-Free Tennessee is the local chapter of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, an international non-profit working to help educate people on the dangers of drugs through a multimedia campaign.
Resources are available free of charge through drugfreeworld.org, including downloadable Truth About Drugs booklet, which cover all basic side effects of drugs, common street names, and how to recognize when you are being persuaded by a dealer. DFT also has a range of award winning Public Service Announcements and an award winning feature length documentary detailing the dangers of drugs and addiction.
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