HONOLULU (KHON2) — Drug overdose is one of Hawaii’s worst public health crises. Throughout the islands, there are numerous drug overdose prevention programs, organizations and information. 

Aug. 31 is observed as drug overdose awareness day and Hawaii Health & Harm Reduction Center with other partners will be meetings at the Hawaii State Capitol for a ceremony. 

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The event at 4 p.m. at the capitol is one of many across the nation and the world. Drug overdose awareness day began in Australia in 2001

The goal is to help raise awareness of drug overdoses and to also reduce the stigma of overdose deaths all while acknowledging grief felt by friends, family and loved ones who have passed. 

“International Overdose Awareness Day is a time for our community to reflect on those who have lost their lives to overdose. It is also a call to action. For years, opioid overdoses have been the nation’s top preventable injury-related death,” said Trisha Kajimura, HHHRC Deputy Director-Community. “These deaths are preventable, and we must continue to strengthen public health strategies that reduce harm and fight stigma.”

She said providing overdose prevention training and naloxone to people using opioids, including prescription opioids and those who are near someone using opioids is vitally important.

Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. sign waving on Beretania Street will take place then at 5 p.m. their program will feature a minute of silence followed by remarks from three HHHRC public health professionals.

“The continued criminalization of behavioral health problems, including substance use and mental health conditions, is the deepest and most lasting stigma that negatively impacts a person’s health over their lifetime,” said Kajimura. 

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Organizers said naloxone distribution and training will be provided at the ceremony. For more information about HHHRC head to their website