FED-UP! With the Opiate Overdose Epidemic: How You Can Join Us in Making a DifferenceAnna Ciulla
Thursday, August 31 is FED-UP! International Overdose Awareness Day—an annual initiative to end an escalating epidemic that here in the United States is now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. Overdose fatalities in the U.S. climbed by 25 percent in 2016 alone, and 2017 is stacking up to be an even deadlier year.
How We’re Making a Difference
Now you can do something about it. We’re inviting you to join Beach House Center for Recovery (a big crew of our staff and alumni) and the greater South Florida treatment and recovery community, for a whole evening of events on Thursday (Aug. 31), from 5pm to 8:30pm, which will provide a local platform for saying “enough is enough” to this growing public health crisis.
South Florida is one of at least 37 locations around the country that will mark National Overdose Awareness Day with marches, vigils, town halls and other local opportunities for education and advocacy. Together, we’ll be calling for an end to the epidemic of opiate and prescription drug overdose.
Our very own Micah Robbins is helping to coordinate the evening’s program of events, in his role as the director of special projects for the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition: “We want to encourage the recovery community, parents, families, municipal officials, and anybody who has been affected by [the opiate epidemic] to come out and be supportive.”
The goal is to see at least 1,000 people in attendance and to build on last year’s turnout, Robbins said. He noted that last year in West Palm Beach alone, over 200 people came out to raise their voices in unison.
This year’s events will feature the following high-profile spokespersons:
- In Palm Beach County, Vice Mayor Melissa McKinlay as keynote speaker, joined by State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Chief Assistant State Attorney Al Johnson, and Delray Police
- Department Detective Nicole Lucas
- In Broward County, Commissioner Chip LaMarca
- And in Miami-Dade County, Deputy Mayor Russell Benford
How You Can Join In
Don’t miss this one-of-kind opportunity to make a difference! Here are the details for how to join in:
- Meet us at FAU’s Boca Raton campus (Research Park) at 5pm to help us make banners of loved ones lost, still suffering, or in recovery, that we’ll carry on our march.
- March with us at 6pm from Research Park to Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium.
- Take part in a town hall forum on the latest research into substance abuse and effective treatment and community solutions to the epidemic.
- Gather with us in a concluding candlelight vigil.
If you’d like to extend this opportunity to get educated, equipped and empowered to end the opiate epidemic, consider also attending the free interactive town hall addressing the threat of fentanyl and other synthetic opiates, Wednesday, August 30, from 5:30pm to 7pm. The panel discussion, which is being sponsored by HealthStreet, a community engagement program at the University of Florida, has the partnering support of the Palm Beach Substance Awareness Coalition and Palm Beach State College (the hosting location for the event). You can find all of the details (regarding speakers, how to get there, etc.) and RSVP here.