Jefferson County, Colo. – International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is August 31, 2021, and Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) encourages residents to get involved. IOAD is an annual observance focused on raising awareness and reducing stigma around overdose, remembering those who have died or suffered permanent injury because of drug overdose and stimulating discussion about overdose prevention and harm reduction.
“This day is observed around the world, and we are offering several ways for people who live in Jeffco to play a part in some way,” said Michael Miller, JCPH. “It’s an important opportunity to pause and remember those we’ve lost, while also looking ahead at ways we can prevent overdose for others in our Jeffco community.”
According to our most recent data, between 2019 and 2020, the number of drug-related overdose deaths in Jefferson County rose from 98 to 156 – over a 50% increase. Additionally, between 2019 and 2020, the total number of hospital admissions for drug-related overdoses was 891. Unfortunately, overdoses continue to surge in our community despite progress in reigning in opioid prescribing, as we’ve seen a steady decrease in opioid prescriptions from 488,126 prescriptions in 2015 to 336,410 in 2019.
JCPH, the Points West Syringe Service Program and the Jefferson County Substance Use Partnership offer several ways to get involved:
“We really encourage people in our community to think differently about drug overdose. No community is immune — it touches every type of person in our county regardless of age, income, race or gender,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, data show overdose is increasingly affecting communities across Colorado, including Jefferson County.”
IOAD is also an opportunity to consider whether current overdose and substance use strategies are working. Communities across the county are utilizing strategies to prevent and respond to overdose. We know the best outcomes result from collaboration between partners across the county including public health, law enforcement, substance use treatment, harm reduction and human services, but the most important people in that collaboration are our community members. If you would like to explore more ways to join JCPH in this effort, visit the Jefferson County Substance Use Partnership website at www.jcsup.org.
To find out more about International Overdose Awareness Day, visit: www.overdoseday.com.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.