Remembering Lives Lost On International Overdose Awareness Day

Aug. 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day: A day to remember the lives lost to overdose and raising awareness to addiction.

“This story is personal to me,” says Nancy Dow, Addiction Treatment Services Family Support Coordinator. “I lost my daughter Dana a little over four years ago to a prescription opiate overdose.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 93,000 people died due to an overdose in 2020.  Dow says her focus to end the epidemic is education.

“There are many opportunities to do this through resources we have available here at ATS, through Families Against Narcotics, Catholic Human Services,” says Dow. “There are many organizations here in Traverse City locally that have resources available to people.”

ATS offers family support to help teach families and individuals about addiction as well as provide other addiction treatment resources.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offers a list of treatment resources.

People can help end addiction and prevent overdose, even if they aren’t affected by it.

“We need to learn how to break down walls of stigma and shame  so that those who are struggling don’t feel shamed and judged so they will reach out and ask for help,” says D0w.

Mental health is also a factor for some people struggling with addiction.

“When you talk about mental health and addiction they go hand in hand so many times we have that dual diagnosis and unfortunately when one part of their struggle is better,” says Dow. “Maybe they have their mental heath in check their addiction may not be so we need to be able to address both.”

Nancy Dow is one of several parents whose children died to overdose and arranged Overdose Awareness Day ceremonies in Traverse City.

The 3rd annual ceremony is 7 p.m., Aug. 31st, at the Botanical Gardens at Historic Barnes Park in the “Walled Garden.” The ceremony honors those lost to an overdose with a message of hope and recovery.