NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Wednesday is International Overdose Awareness Day. Local groups are holding events to raise awareness and save lives.
According to the CDC, West Virginia tops all other states at 81 when it comes to drug overdose mortality rates per 100,000 people in 2020. Kentucky is second at 49 deaths per 100-thousand. Tennessee is not far behind and has the fifth highest rate in the country at 45.
According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were almost 670 non-fatal opioid overdoses in July. So far this year there have been more than 4,500.
In Maury County the organization Light from the Darkness is holding an event tonight to try and raise awareness.
“Our main idea starting out was, was just kind of all those that share this loss to come together and support each other,” said Light from the Darkness President Holly Terry. “From there, we’ve grown to going out into the community and educating on overdose and drug addiction and how the community can help try to end this epidemic.”
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They’ll have Narcan training and people sharing their personal experiences with the drug epidemic.
“It’s had a huge impact. I mean, it affects people from all ages, all aspects of life,” said Terry. “I think a common misconception is that it just affects a certain amount of people low income or things like that. But really, it affects everyone from all parts of the world. And I think the biggest thing is just number one prevention, but also seeing the addict where they are in their walk and helping them get to recovery.”
The issue reaches all corners of the state, including rural communities like Clay County. We talked with the local anti-drug coalition. They’re hosting an event Wednesday at the courthouse to try and raise awareness.
“For in my personal experience, I’ve had a couple of family members and friends that have passed away to overdose,” said Daniel Roberts, Clay County SADD/Anti-Drug Coalition Prevention Coordinator. “So that’s what fuels my passion for my work that I do, because you know, them not being here, I would want, I want to help prevent that for the next generation to come. And for my family members currently that are in recovery, or are currently still using.”
Community partners like churches and businesses have been trying to get the message out as well by displaying partnership signs, purple ribbons and lighting.
“I also lost a close friend in high school due to overdose,” said Kody Thompson, who’s also a prevention coordinator with the organization. “Our community is so close knit, and if you ask anyone, they can probably tell you the same thing that they’ve lost a loved one. So we just really want to get it out there that overdose is 100% preventable.”