International Overdose Awareness Day

Nearly 110,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2022. The 109,680 individuals who lost their life last year as a result of fentanyl, synthetic opioids and other drug poisonings are not just a data point. These are our sons, daughters, neighbors and friends. A Morning Consult study found that 30% of Americans know someone directly affected by opioid addiction. Over 15% of Americans know someone who died from opioids.

Ken Trogdon —

This epidemic is taking the precious lives of all races, classes and ages – from adults suffering decade-long battles of addiction to high schoolers taking one counterfeit Xanax laced with deadly fentanyl.

This crisis has continued to weigh on the hearts and minds of our nation. A recent survey from Axios revealed that 26% of Americans have identified opioids and fentanyl as the most critical public health issue gripping our nation. This response was the highest of any public health threat, taking precedence over long-standing concerns such as firearms, obesity and cancer.

I’m posting this blog on August 31 – International Overdose Awareness Day – to further spread awareness and call for action to help combat this crisis. It’s a complex issue, one originally fueled by overly prescribed opioids and now heightened by the rampant spread of illicit fentanyl.

Despite the despair we face when weighing these tragic deaths and ruined lives, I am still hopeful for our country’s resolve to reverse this trend and save lives.

HarborPath was founded over 10 years ago to meet unmet needs by delivering life-saving medications to our most vulnerable neighbors – for free. Over one year ago, we identified the unmet need of communities and individuals nationwide who could save lives and prevent overdose deaths with the help of Naloxone, but they didn’t have access to it.

Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, is a medication that quickly reverses overdoses by blocking the opioid effects from the brain. It commonly comes in the form of a nasal spray that a layperson can administer to a loved one who has been poisoned by fentanyl – and save their life.

We are working tirelessly with fellow nonprofits, state agencies, local municipalities and law enforcement agencies to provide free Naloxone to those most likely to experience or witness a drug overdose.

Throughout the past year we have hit significant milestones, such as receiving a $1 million grant in partnership with Operation UNITE . We have also worked in tandem with groups such as the Police Assisted Addiction & Recovery Initiative (PAARI) and Seattle Fire Department to provide first responders with resources to save lives in their communities.

We have had many productive discussions with other potential partners across the country on how Naloxone access is a critical tool in a strategy to save and improve lives before, during and after an overdose event.

These programs, coupled with the prevention and recovery efforts of fellow nonprofits and partners, will make a difference against American's opioid epidemic. We remain steadfast in our calling to serve this growing unmet need and save lives.