WARREN, Pa. – Let’s start a conversation.
On Wednesday, Family Services of Warren County hosted Overness Awareness Day at Gen. Joseph Warren Park with several agencies in attendance.
The goal, obviously, was to raise awareness, but also to let people know that it’s something that can be prevented.
“We were pleased that ten-plus agencies attended the event,” said Family Services Executive Director Kim Holt. “We were overwhelmed with gratitude that so many community members took part in sharing personal stories, signing the fabric ‘wall’ in memory of a loved one, as well as took home overdose kits which contained Narcan.”
Wednesday also served as International Overdose Awareness Day.
“The first step is for us to raise awareness,” Holt said during her introduction at the event. “We have to lessen the stigma.”
Joining Family Services at the event were the Warren County YMCA, Deerfield Behavioral Health, Warren General Hospital, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Beacon Light Behavioral Health, PA Thrive, and Crossroads Behavioral Health.
“We want to thank all of them,” Holt said. “In our small area to have all this support is great.”
All of them were there to interact and educate.
Part of that education was knowing that you have to act quickly and focus on treatment.
Holt made clear that Narcan, a medication that is widely available and usually free, is key to being able to restore breathing to someone who is overdosing.
Forest-Warren Human services gave away kits containing doses of Narcan at the event.
“Not only did community members benefit, but the people working in the helping professions were able to build stronger relationships by exchanging contact information and getting to know one another better,” Holt said.
Those present toward the end of the event released biodegradable balloons in remembrance of those lost to overdose and substance abuse.
“Events such as International Overdose Awareness are so important because it works to bring people together, provide education, and work to end the stigma,” Holt said. “We are already looking forward to Aug. 31, 2023.”