Purple Lighting To Mark International Overdose Awareness Day

across Dumfries and Galloway will be lit in purple to mark International Overdose Awareness Day on 31st August.  This is in remembrance of those who have died due to overdose, and to acknowledge the grief of the families and friends left behind.

Throughout August the Alcohol and Drug Partnership and drug and alcohol support charity We Are With You arranged local pop-up awareness stalls around Dumfries and Galloway, along with other key partners such as Dumfries and Galloway Recovery Together and Alcohol and Drug South West Scotland’s Being There team.

These pop-ups have taken place in Stranraer, Newton Stewart, Castle Douglas, Dalbeattie, Sanquhar and Thornhill, with a final pop-up on Friday 26 August in Langholm and Annan.

The pop-ups have been used to spread awareness for the upcoming International Overdose Awareness Day, distribute harm reduction advice, provide training on how to use naloxone to treat overdoses, and direct people to other services in Dumfries and Galloway.

On 31st August there will be three remembrance events at We Are With You in Stranraer, We Are With You in Dumfries, and the Lochside Specialist Drug and Alcohol Clinic in Dumfries.

Information packs on overdose awareness, harm reduction and contact details for local support services will be available at these locations.

Friends, families and members of the community are being invited to tie a purple ribbon at these locations to remember those who have lost their lives to drug-related death.  Ribbons will be available at each location.

An online tribute wall has been created to allow those who have lost a loved, whether they are a friend, family member or professional who worked with them, to write their memory or tribute online. The link to this tribute wall is: www.memorialboard.wixsite.com/overdoseawareness

Independent chair of Dumfries and Galloway Alcohol and Drug Partnership Penny Halliday said: “We have previously highlighted the continued rise in the number of people dying of a fatal drug overdose.

“We are running a campaign for International Overdose Awareness Day to again remind all our communities of the devastating impact that every death has and to remember those who have lost their lives in this way.

“Across the region, we want to acknowledge the profound grief felt by families and friends whose loved ones have died or suffered permanent injury from drug overdose. We offer sincere condolences to families and friends who have lost loved ones.”

“Alongside this, we would like to remind drug users and their families of the key things they can do to reduce the risk of overdose and to visit www.stopdgdrugdeaths.co.uk for more information.”

Steps include:

  • Don’t take drugs alone – most suspected fatal overdoses have involved someone taking drugs alone. Taking drugs alone increases the chance of fatally overdosing, because there is no one to call for help in an emergency.
  • Don’t take a combination of drugs, drugs that haven’t been prescribed and/or drugs that may have been bought over the internet.  This includes alcohol and prescribed medication.  Mixing drugs greatly increases the risk of overdose, particularly if you don’t know exactly what they are or what effect they will have.
  • Don’t try new substances, or increase or reduce the quantity of drugs or alcohol being regularly taken, without support from your GP or drug and alcohol treatment service.  If trying any new substances, try a very small amount at first, so you know how it might affect you.
  • Get a naloxone kit. Naloxone is a medication that temporarily reverses the effects of a heroin or other opioid overdose and allows time for someone to seek emergency help.  Friends and family can also get a naloxone kit.
  • Dial 999 immediately if you believe that someone is having an overdose or if you feel unwell after taking any drugs. When someone has overdosed, they can look and sound like they are simply asleep; snoring can be an indication the person is having breathing difficulties. Always check when you hear snoring that the person is actually asleep.

Friends and family are also being urged to help by encouraging their loved ones to follow these steps and by encouraging them to seek help either from their GP or from local drug and alcohol treatment services.

The message from Dumfries and Galloway Alcohol and Drug Partnership is being echoed and supported by Dumfries and Galloway Local Resilience Partnership, through its members: Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership; NHS Dumfries and Galloway; Dumfries and Galloway Council; Police Scotland; Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway; Scottish Fire and Rescue Service; Scottish Ambulance Service; and Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership.

Further information on other websites and local drug and alcohol services that can help, along with other more detailed guidance, can be found on the Dumfries and Galloway Alcohol and Drug Partnership website at www.stopdgdrugdeaths.co.uk


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