International Overdose Awareness Day

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Monday, Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. The day aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.

My connection is personal. I am a resident of Wantagh. My wife and I raised two daughters who attended Levittown Schools and both graduated MacArthur High School. Our youngest, Lisa, came to us in 2017 asking for help. Lisa was addicted to heroin. She fought the good fight, going to multiple rehabilitation facilities, but sadly she succumbed to an overdose on September 19, 2019, just five days after her 25th birthday.

I could not sit idle after her passing. Not only did I owe it to her her memory, but to the many who still fight addiction in our community. Shortly after Lisa’s tragic death, I joined the Levittown Community Action Coalition as a member of the steering committee. The mission of LCAC is to create a safe and secure community for children and adults where untimely deaths are reduced and fewer lives are affected by addiction, through prevention, education and engagement.

We live in difficult times. COVID-19 is real and I do not diminish it at all. What about the disease of addiction? Since 1999, over 450,000 people have died from Opioid drug related overdoses. Let’s bring this closer to home. In Levittown and surrounding communities alone, since February, 2020, there have been 31 non-fatal overdoses and 11 fatal overdoses.

On Aug. 31,  the Levittown Community Action Coalition will be holding a ceremony in memory of those who have passed as a result of addiction. Please join us at 6:30PM in front of St Bernard’s Church, 3100 Hempstead Turnpike, Levittown.

-Larry Lamendola

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