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Memorial Walk and Candlelight Vigil Planned for International Overdose Awareness Day

TULSA, OK – [August 27, 2014] – A special memorial walk and candlelight vigil in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day is being held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, August 29th, at Centennial Park, 1028 East 6th Street.

The event is being held to remember those who have died from drug overdoses, those who are in recovery, and those who are struggling with substance abuse. Family and friends will have the opportunity to write tributes to their lost loved ones, and special guest speakers will discuss innovative ways to prevent deaths in the future, including the lifesaving use of naloxone. The event is open to the public and free to attend, and free t-shirts will be provided to attendees while supplies last.

“We are joining the many vigils and memorial events being held across the US and in other countries to remember our friends and loved ones,” said Marianne Long, Tulsa Health Department program coordinator. “We want people to know that there is help for those who struggle with addiction and their for family members who feel like there is nowhere to turn. There is hope.”

Speakers for the evening include Whitney Box, the sister of former OU football player Austin Box who passed away from prescription drug overdose in 2011. Whitney and her family founded the Austin Box “12” Foundation to raise awareness of prescription drug abuse and to try to save another family from going through the pain of losing a child, grandchild, sibling and friend.

Barrett Hesson, the program director for the Tulsa-based Palmer Adolescent Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Center will also address attendees. Local pastor Antonio Porter of Rose Hill Methodist Church, who is also a longstanding trooper with Oklahoma Highway Patrol and Law Enforcement Liaison, will lead the candlelight vigil.

The event is hosted by the Coalition Against Prescription and Substance Abuse of Tulsa (CAPSAT) and the Tulsa Health Department’s Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG) program.

International Overdose Awareness Day
International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year and 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 met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. IOAD spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. People are encouraged to wear silver ribbons in recognition of the day. The silver badge is the symbol of awareness of overdose and its effects.

Coalition Against Prescription and Substance Abuse of Tulsa 
CAPSAT brings together diverse organization, stakeholders and individuals to advocate for changes in policies, systems and environments for the prevention of substance abuse. The coalition works to prevent non-medical prescription drug and opioid abuse through education, training, treatment, research, and enforcement.

Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG) 
The Tulsa Health Department’s Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG) program supports an array of activities that build a solid foundation for delivering and sustaining effective substance abuse and/or mental health services. This program works to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance abuse, including childhood and underage drinking, reduce substance abuse related problems in communities, and build prevention capacity and infrastructure at the state, tribal and community levels. The program is funded by Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

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