ANNAPOLIS, MD — Today is International Overdose Awareness Day, held each year on August 31, and September 1 marks the start of National Recovery Month — both opportunities to raise awareness and understanding of substance use disorders and the resources available.
“International Overdose Awareness Day is a time for our communities to come together to remember the lives we have lost as a result of the heroin and opioid crisis that continues to impact Maryland and states across the country,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “We must provide support for those with substance use disorders to seek treatment and recovery, and encourage families, friends, and communities to join with us to help save lives — not just during Recovery Month, but every day.”
Governor Hogan issued a proclamation declaring National Recovery Month and ordered Government House to be lit in purple tomorrow, September 1, to commemorate the month.
“Recovery Month is an opportunity to share stories of recovery and help our communities understand substance use disorders,” said Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford. “By celebrating the achievements and milestones of those in recovery, we highlight the success of prevention and treatment services, and reduce the stigma surrounding substance use disorder.”
Project Purple, a prevention and substance use awareness campaign which launched in Talbot County last year, included visits to schools, sporting events, civic organizations, homeowner associations, and business owners with educational messages related to prevention, early intervention, and recovery. A “promising practice” that the Opioid Operational Command Center identified and shared widely among jurisdictions, multiple Maryland jurisdictions have adopted it for this coming year.
“It’s exciting to see the level of engagement and drive in our jurisdictions across Maryland. There are so many events happening to raise awareness and educate our communities on the opioid epidemic today and during the month of September,” said Clay Stamp, executive director of the Opioid Operational Command Center. “We must continue to focus on combating this crisis, which includes, among our education, prevention, and enforcement efforts, working to expand access to treatment for substance use disorders and building out recovery support systems.”
Stamp will attend Talbot County’s International Overdose Awareness Day event in Easton this evening.
Many of Maryland’s jurisdictions are hosting International Overdose Awareness Day and Recovery Month events. For more information, visit http://beforeitstoolate.maryland.gov/recovery-month-events/. Check with your local health department to see if there are additional events happening in your community.
“International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event which highlights the impact of overdose and the stigma that overshadows drug-related deaths,” said Maryland Department of Health Secretary Robert R. Neall. “Maryland has made strong inroads in assisting those struggling with substance use disorders by expanding access to treatment and recovery services, but there is still more work to be done. If you or a family member are struggling with an addiction, help is available 24/7 through our state’s crisis hotline — call 211, press 1.”
Members of the Hogan-Rutherford administration will visit Maryland communities throughout September to join Recovery Month activities. To find out where, visit BeforeItsTooLateMD.org.
Before It’s Too Late is the state’s effort to bring awareness to this epidemic — and to mobilize resources for effective prevention, treatment, and recovery. Marylanders grappling with a substance use disorder can find help at BeforeItsTooLateMD.org or by calling 211 and pressing 1.