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Today Honors Those Who Died by OD

International Overdose Awareness Day is a chance to promote policies that will cut our soaring fatality rate, the Drug Policy Alliance tells The Fix.

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A day for remembrance and reflection
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By Bryan Le

08/31/12

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Today is International Overdose Awareness Day, a day to commemorate those who have lost their lives to OD. Organizations like the Drug Policy Alliance will be holding events to raise awareness and promote policies that are compassionate towards those at risk—like expanding the availability and knowledge of naloxone, and adopting 911 "Good Samaritan" laws. Overdose now claims more lives in the US than car crashes, drowning and firearm deaths, and the DPA stresses the need to address this. “Naloxone is a regular medicine like any other medicine, it's legal, non-narcotic, and you can't abuse it,” Meghan Ralston of the DPA tells The Fix. “And it does only one thing: reverse opiate overdose.” According to Ralston, physicians simply aren't aware or familiar with the drug and thus don't prescribe it to patients. The high demand for nalaxone combined with its scarcity also drives up its price, making the drug needlessly expensive to get a hold of. Good Samaritan laws allow people to call 911 to report ODs without fear of being arrested for minor drug violations. “It can be challenging for law enforcement officials to understand the depth and complexity of addiction and overdose in their home state,” Ralston tells us, saying that officers generally opt to make low-level drug arrests because they're unaware of widespread public support for policy changes towards handling opiate drug overdoses. Those who can't make it to the planned candlelight vigils, rallies and fundraisers around the country can show their support on Twitter by using the hashtag #OD12.

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