Passaic, NJ- On September 10th, 2023, Mayor Hector C. Lora, Lisberma Peralta, the Passaic City Youth Council, and Opoidfree hosted the first-ever International Overdose Awareness Day event in Passaic. The Passaic community was invited to remember and honor those lost to drug overdose and to raise awareness about opioid addiction. In attendance were members of the Passaic Fire and Police Departments, alongside various departments and organizations, such as the Passaic City Health Department and the Passaic City Alliance, all providing information on ways to prevent drug overdose.
The event occurred at the Passaic City Hall Annabelle Shimkowitz Senior Center from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Statistics show that over a hundred individuals in Passaic County alone have passed away from drug overdoses in the last year. The event featured activities that included a candlelight vigil, informational booths, workshops, and guest speakers, such as Dr. Shirley Daniels, Nursing Department Chair, and students from Medgar Evers College. An arts and crafts table was available to those in attendance to help alleviate stress.
Mayor Lora, who served as the event's keynote speaker, applauded Opioid-free for organizing the event. Opioid Free is an organization that educates on drug prevention and strives to end opioid abuse and overdose. The event coordinator and co-founder of Opioid Free Lisberma Peralta explained the significance behind the International Overdose Awareness Day event, stating, “'This is a global campaign where people organize similar events to raise awareness about overdoses and, hopefully, reduce the impact of drugs on those affected.”
Mayor Lora proclaimed that August 31st would be recognized as International Overdose Awareness Day in the city of Passaic when presenting the proclamation to Opioidfree. “ Whereas International Overdose Awareness Day is recognized globally on August 31st to raise awareness about the risk of overdosing, remembering without judgment those who have passed and acknowledging the deep grief of their families and friends”. The event concluded with speeches, health demonstrations, distribution of COVID kits, fentanyl detection, Narcan sprays, and pizza for attendees. For more information, please visit: https://www.cityofpassaic.com/