In line with International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31, the Ithaca Plan will be hosting a forum as an educational event about overdose.
With deaths from drug overdoses in New York alone increasing 71 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to a press release, the Ithaca Plan aims to establish different approaches to combat rising drug overdoses.
Speakers from all over Ithaca will present at Thursday’s event, including Judge John C. Rowley, and Gwen Wilkinson, interim drug policy coordinator in the City of Ithaca as well as various social workers and paramedics from Tompkins County.
Since his election as mayor Svante Myrick ’09 has promoted the Ithaca Plan, which most notably calls for the establishment of a certified heroin injection site — a proposal that has sparked controversy. Highlighting the success of these sites in Switzerland, Myrick has proposed their benefit in Ithaca, thus becoming one of the first in the nation.
“More people each month are getting HIV in New York state because of IV use. That will not happen at the supervised injection facility,” Myrick said about injection sites in April 2016.
The event Thursday will focus on both remembrance of individuals who have died from overdose as well as education on overdose prevention strategies.
One such strategy includes the usage of Narcan, also known as naloxone, an over-the-counter overdose reversal drug. During the event, attendees will be trained in the use of this drug and given their own kits.
“I know that empowered with Narcan and accurate information about overdose, Ithacans will save lives,” Wilkinson said in a press release. “This event will equip the community with the information they need to understand and respond to overdose in a way that prioritizes, values, and preserves human life.”
“Saving lives requires cutting through the stigma and sense of isolation felt by people who live with addiction,” Rowley said in the release. “On this International Overdose Awareness Day, Ithacans join with thousands of people from across the world to save lives and honor the humanity of our neighbors.”
This forum will run simultaneously with over overdose awareness events nationwide in an effort to both destigmatize and memorialize drug overdose. The event will take place from 4:30 p.m to 6:30 p.m. at The Space @ GreenStar on 700 W. Buffalo Street.