Today, Thursday, August 31st 2023 marks International Overdose Awareness Day: the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose.

In Oregon, the Clatsop County Department of Public Health is hosting an event to acknowledge those lost to overdose, as well as raise awareness about prevention and reducing the stigma of substance use disorders.

“We invite the community to come together to remember and celebrate loved ones we lost to an overdose,” said Jenna King, Clatsop County Public Health Department harm reduction coordinator. “Together we can prevent future losses of life.”

The event, which will take place the Barbey Maritime Center in Astoria today from 6:00-8:00 p.m., features CODA Executive Director Alison Noice as keynote speaker.

As a counter to the tragedy of overdose losses, Noice plans to take the opportunity to focus on hope. “The conversations about overdoses, risk factors, and treatment opportunities are changing for the better,” she said. Citing the opioid treatments now offered by CODA in the county, as well as the strong support of community partners, Noice sees positivity in the continuing drive toward a world where such losses are prevented. “While not an easy path. . .” she said, “we are in a very different place than we were, even just a decade ago.”

The event will also feature an interactive memorial space, educational presentations (including supplies of and training on the use of NARCAN), and a candlelight vigil with the opportunity for attendees to share their own stories and experiences.

“Clatsop County Public Health and our community partners are committed to showing people how they can help save the lives of loved ones and to provide those resources,” said Jenna King. “Help us end the stigma of addiction.”