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A Heartfelt Overdose Awareness Capitol Gathering

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. HHHRC hosted an Overdose Awareness Day event at the state capitol on that afternoon.

“International Overdose Awareness Day is time for our community to reflect on those who have lost their lives to overdose. It is also a call to action. For years, opioid overdoses have been the nation’s top preventable injury-related death. These deaths are preventable, and we must continue to strengthen public health strategies that reduce harm and fight stigma,” said Trisha Kajimura, HHHRC Deputy Director-Community.

Before the program, HHHRC and community supporters participated in sign waving on Beretania Street in front of the capitol. Backpacks with hygiene supplies, food, snacks, and water were made available to those in need at the event.

Mahalo to HHHRC staff who shared their own perspectives. Dr. Christina Wang has used naloxone on multiple occasions when providing wound care and outreach services in downtown Honolulu. Tobacco Treatment Specialist Donita Garcia shared her story of recovery from drug use.

Anika Martin, Ryan White Administrative Manager, shared her experience as a young person who witnessed the accidental overdose of her father: “My experiences with the repercussions of my father’s drug use overwhelmed me with feelings of guilt, shame, fear, anger, and sorrow throughout my life. But I would never talk about it. I couldn’t talk about it. Despite the resentment I’ve had towards my father for my entire life, it’s because of this agency and people in this field of work that I am able to no longer judge him for what he’s done. Instead, I am able appreciate the love he had for me and his courage to get the support that he needed.”

The event was widely covered by local media, including KITV, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and Hawai῾i Public Radio. The Star-Advertiser included a photo gallery in its coverage.

Mahalo to the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Division of the Hawai῾i State Department of Health for their participation and support. State legislators who joined the gathering were Representatives Sylvia Luke, Ryan Yamane, Jeanné Kapela, and Adrian Tam, who serves on HHHRC’s Board of Directors.

If you or someone you know are engaged in opioid use, including prescription opioids, accidental overdose may happen. Please consider equipping yourself with the training and tools needed to prevent death. HHHRC provides no-cost nasal naloxone (Narcan) and online overdose prevention training to Hawai῾i residents, as noted in the Star-Advertiser’s “Kokua Line” on September 2.

Photos from HHHRC's International Overdose Awareness Day event available here.

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