On Monday, OSI joined the Baltimore City Health Department and other organizations to observe International Overdose Awareness at the YNOT Lot at Charles St. and North Ave. Health Department staff arrayed 914 small purple flags on the grass, representing people who died of overdose in Baltimore City in 2019. OSI displayed the Overdose Awareness Day posters below. You can watch the full program here.
Brittney Spencer from the Health Department held up a mayoral proclamation declaring August 31st Overdose Awareness Day in Baltimore City and Councilman Stokes talked about the urgency of addressing overdose. “We need to do this every day,” he said. “It affects everybody in our neighborhood, it affects all our families.”
The Health Department’s Lisa Parker emceed the event and talked about how recent events have exacerbated the overdose epidemic. “Because of Coronavirus and all the things going on with racial injustice in our communities, people are experimenting with opiates as a coping mechanism to deal with some of the stresses and the trauma that we’re experiencing,” she said. “We’re going to see people we never thought would be impacted by opiates and overdoses.”
John Harris, who has worked at Community Risk Reduction Services for 20 years, talked about community support available to Baltimore residents. “Despite what we hear nationally, Baltimore opens up its heart and it arms to people who want help,” he said.
On Thursday, Scott Nolen, director of OSI’s Addiction and Health Equity Program, participated in a conversation facilitated by the Health Department, called “What’s COVID Got to Do With It?” Watch it here.