County encouraging residents and organizations to take part, signifying ‘we are in this together’ and creating greater awareness of the opioid and heroin epidemic
Chester County’s Department of Drug & Alcohol Services announces Chester County’s participation in “Black Balloon Overdose Awareness Day” on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, a day remembering not only those lost to the disease of addiction, but the friends and family of the loved ones left behind. On this day, Chester County will be joining communities across the nation, encouraging individuals and organizations to come together and publicly display a black balloon outside of their homes, businesses or in the community. The display of the black balloons is a sign that an individual has been affected by drug addiction or an overdose death.
Last year, several county departments and local community organizations participated in this event by displaying a black balloon outside of their place of work.
“In 2016, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded over 64,000 overdose deaths in the United States, and in Pennsylvania, over 4,600,” said Vince Brown, Executive Director of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services. “Sadly, all evidence points to these numbers being higher in 2017.”
“The display of black balloons throughout our community will illustrate that Chester County, just like all other communities across our nation, has been greatly affected by drug addiction and overdose deaths. The display also conveys that we are all in this together, while generating greater awareness of the opioid and heroin epidemic,” added Vince Brown.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), it is estimated that 44 percent of people in the United States report that they personally know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers.
“Our community, as well as our country, faces an opioid epidemic and it is important to know that the disease of addiction knows no bounds,” said Jamie Johnson, Deputy Director of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services. “Addiction does not discriminate against age, race, socioeconomic status or education level. Last year, more than 140 people in Chester County died from an accidental drug overdose, a majority of which were due to prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl.”
Chester County has established a collaborative approach to combating the opioid and heroin epidemic, including the creation of the Chester County Drug Overdose Task Force – which brings together the Chester County Commissioners’ Office, the District Attorney’s Office, the Health Department, the Department of Drug and Alcohol Services and many other County and community partners to address these problems. To learn more about the Overdose Prevention Task Force, visit StopODChesco.org.
For more information and resources, visit the Department of Drug and Alcohol Services website at chesco.org/DrugandAlcohol, or call the Chester County Information and Referral line at 866-286-3767.