Overdose Awareness Day Event Offers Helpful Resources – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

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An opioid overdose antidote nasal spray will be handed out on an overdose awareness day in Medford on Saturday. Photo file

Dependency, health care, housing assistance available

More than 20 organizations providing addiction help, mental and physical health care, housing and more will be on hand during a Southern Oregon Overdose Awareness Day in Medford.

“We want people to be able to reach out, connect to services, get advice and talk to someone,” said Julia Pinsky, co-founder of Max’s Mission and organizer of the local event.

The event will take place Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Hawthorne Park, located along East Main, Hawthorne and East Jackson streets in Medford.

Organizations will set up kiosks and talk to visitors looking for information and help for themselves or a loved one.

Substance abuse treatment providers, organizations that provide Oregon Health Plan insurance benefits, the La Clinica network of health care clinics, mental health organizations and housing support groups will be among participants in the event.

Pinsky said mental health issues and substance use are often linked, with issues such as depression or anxiety sometimes contributing to drug use and drug use triggering or exacerbating mental health issues.

Dual Diagnosis Anonymous of Oregon and the Southern Oregon Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness will be among the organizations providing support.

The stress and isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the growing prevalence of life-threatening fentanyl in the drug supply, have helped fuel an increase in overdose deaths in Jackson County and across the country .

In Jackson County, 30 people died from overdoses in 2019. That number increased 36.7% to 41 deaths in 2020, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

Nationally, overdose deaths increased 29.4% from 2019 to 2020, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Max’s Mission, which is known for providing free opioid overdose reversal kits, will offer kits as well as training on how to use them to save a life. Pinsky’s son, Max, died of an overdose in Ashland in 2013, which prompted her and her husband to found the nonprofit.

Visitors to the event can learn more about drug treatment. Prescription drugs can help relieve withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, improving the chances of overcoming addiction.

“It’s about letting people take control of their lives and not having food cravings,” Pinsky said.

A specialist will be available to help people remove eligible offenses, such as drug possession convictions, from their criminal records. Having a criminal record can prevent some people from finding employment and improving their lives.

The Overdose Awareness Day event will provide a place to remember those who have died of an overdose.

“People will talk about those they lost recently and years ago. Anyone can bring a photo of someone they’ve lost and post it, ”Pinsky said.

Originally scheduled for August, this year’s Overdose Awareness Day in Medford has been pushed back to October due to a summer and fall increase in COVID-19 cases. A drop in cases allowed the event to move forward.

Last year’s overdose awareness day in Medford was limited to a scaled-down version.

Observed annually, International Overdose Awareness Day is an opportunity to remember those who have died and take action to prevent future overdoses. Organizations often show their support by hanging purple lights.

For more information on the local event or Max’s mission, see maxsmission.org.

Contact Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.


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