Overdose awareness event aims to reduce addiction’s stigma | SteamboatToday.com

Overdose awareness event aims to reduce addiction’s stigma

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Local organizers of International Overdose Awareness Day in Steamboat Springs are hoping that those who have had their lives touched by the negative affects of an overdose will stop by and leave a handprint on poster board that will be displayed outside the historic Routt County Courthouse downtown.

But that’s not the only thing they want people to leave behind,

“Really, we are looking for a way to show our community how many of us are impacted by this every day,” said Lindsey Simbeye, executive director of Grand Futures Prevention Coalition. “Our hope is that by doing that we can reduce the stigma that is attached to overdoses and addiction.”

If you go

What: International Overdose Awareness Day in Steamboat Springs
When: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31
Where: Historic Routt County Courthouse lawn, 522 Lincoln Ave.

That stigma is a big reason volunteers and representatives from Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, Communities that Care, the RX Task Force, Sk8 Church and Northwest Colorado Community Health Partnership are spearheading the all-day event, which will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31 on the lawn of the Routt County Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave.

In addition to the poster boards covered with handprints, there will also be tables set up with information on a number of different topics related to drug addiction. The information will cover how to use Narcan, a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdose situations, the risks associated with opioid use and how those risks can relate to overdose.

“There is a lot of information that will be available onsite, so that people can get additional insight and knowledge at the same time as showing their support of the cause and showing that they have been impacted by overdoses,” Simbeye said.

Simbeye said small flags will be placed across the street from the courthouse on the lawn of the Bank of the West signifying the number of overdose deaths in Colorado in 2016.

Susan Petersen, a facilitator for Communities that Care, said her group is a youth prevention framework and often works hand in hand with groups like Grand Futures with the shared goal of reducing drug use.

“We think it is important to help out with things like this, and we try to partner with Grand Futures whenever we can in their efforts,” Petersen said.

“We want to reduce the stigma and shine the spotlight on the fact that overdose is apparent in everyone’s life,” Petersen added. “It touches everyone regardless of age, race gender or demographics.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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