<p>Jeremy Saunders, VOCAL NY, 917-676-8041<br />
Mikola De Roo, Housing Works, 347-585-6051<br />
Kassandra Frederique, Drug Policy Alliance, 646-209-0374</p>
On August 31st, International Overdose Awareness Day, overdose prevention advocates will unite in their grief to demand more action from local and State government to decrease drug overdose deaths. Overdose takes the lives of more New Yorkers than traffic accidents and homicides combined. In 2016, NYC had 1,374 drug overdose deaths, a 46% increase from the previous year. From 2013 to 2015, New York State lost 7,213 residents to overdose and the State’s overdose fatality rate has more than doubled in the five years that statistics have been reported, with rates in suburban and rural counties exceeding those of NYC.
Advocates will march with the Demolition Brass Band in a jazz funeral procession across midtown Manhattan to the NYC Morgue to demand the immediate expansion of existing community overdose prevention services and implementation of new public health interventions to reach people most likely to experience an overdose. On the street in front of the NYC Morgue, community members and elected officials will publicly memorialize New Yorkers who have died of overdose and highlight specific government actions that can save lives.
WHEN: Thursday, August 31st, 9:30 am to noon.
WHERE: The march will begin at the Harm Reduction Coalition office, 22 West 27th Street, 5th Floor, at 9:30 am, and the rally will begin at 10:45 am, once the marchers reach the NYC Morgue at Bellevue Hospital at 462 1st Avenue (between 26th and 28th Streets).
WHO: Drug Policy Alliance, BOOM! Health, Harm Reduction Coalition, Housing Works, VOCAL New York, GMHC, Rise and Resist, Families for Sensible Drug Policy, and people from across NYC who want to take action to prevent overdose fatalities.