Stark County, OH (August 26, 2021) – August 31 – International Overdose Awareness Day – is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind. Stark County can benefit greatly from each of these three pursuits, as the number of deaths due to unintentional overdose has been rising throughout 2021 – largely due to the presence of fentanyl, which can be lethal in very small doses and is undetectable to users.
“As we continue to combat the fact that fentanyl is showing up in all types of drugs in Stark County, we’re calling on local residents to be aware of some life-saving strategies that will help keep people safer,” said Justina Gorman, Coalition & Community Development Coordinator at Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery (StarkMHAR).
Gorman urges anyone who uses substances, or knows someone who does, to obtain an overdose reversal kit. These kits are free, available in many places throughout the county, and can be given by anyone to reverse an overdose caused by an opioid (fentanyl is an opioid). Kind of like a “designated driver,” someone must be with the user to give this medicine if it’s needed – making it crucial to never use alone. Locations where anyone can pick up a free kit can be found under “Prevention & Resources” at StarkMHAR.org – mail order information can also be found here.
“With days of awareness like Overdose Awareness Day, sometimes people wonder what they can actually do to help,” said John Aller, Executive Director of StarkMHAR. “In this case, there’s a lot you can do. Get a kit. Check in on people often. And put some important numbers in your phone so when you need them, you have them,” Aller said.
Numbers of note would include:
• Opiate & Addiction hotline at 330-454-HELP (4357) for community information, education, support, and connection to treatment and recovery services anytime, day or night;
• Stark County Mobile Response Team at 330-452-6000 for local, licensed counselors who can come to you anywhere in Stark County, 24/7/365;
• If an overdose is suspected, dial 911 immediately. Good Samaritan laws in Ohio protect anyone who is calling on behalf of someone who is experiencing an overdose.
Those interested in the overarching and ongoing response to all types of substance use and addiction in Stark County, including the path to a life free from substance use, can attend a meeting of the Opiate & Addiction Task Force. The task force’s mission is to save lives and promote community recovery through the sustainable reduction of opiate and other substance misuse and abuse. Contact Justina Gorman at 330-455-6644 for information on upcoming meetings, which are being held virtually at this time.
About Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery
Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery is a multi-faceted organization of expert professionals, dedicated volunteers and concerned community leaders close to mental health and addiction needs right here at home. StarkMHAR is responsible for planning, funding and monitoring public mental health and addiction prevention, early intervention and treatment services delivered to the residents of Stark County. It is one of approximately 50 boards coordinating the public behavioral health system across Ohio. StarkMHAR also advocates for residents with behavioral health issues at both the local and state levels and provides educational opportunities for local providers and other community stakeholders. For more online about the work of StarkMHAR, visit www.StarkMHAR.org.