August 31, 2021: Overdose Awareness Day

WHEREAS, International Overdose Awareness Day is recognized globally on August 31 to raise awareness about the risks of overdose, honor the individuals whose lives have been lost, and acknowledge the grief felt by families, friends and the community; and,


WHEREAS, Overdose Awareness Day aims to publicly challenge the stigma associated with substance use disorders and overdose; and,


WHEREAS, in 2019, 2,354 individuals died from a drug overdose in Michigan and, of those deaths, 75% were opioid-involved, representing 18.2 deaths per 100,000 people; and,


WHEREAS, in 2019, naloxone administrations were 11.8 per 1,000 patient encounters according to Emergency Medical Services; naloxone continues to be highly necessary within Michigan for first responders, emergency personnel, family, friends and non-EMS professions; and,


WHEREAS, in 2019, the drug overdose death rates involving opioids were 1.7 times higher for Black Americans than for white Americans (29.1 vs. 17.2 per 100,000); from 2018 to 2019, drug overdose deaths involving opioids decreased for white Americans (-16.9%; from 20.7 to 17.2), while Black Americans experienced increased rates of drug overdose deaths involving opioids (0.7%; from 28.9 to 29.1); and,

WHEREAS, white fatalities have decreased through 2019, but according to data verified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, opioid overdose deaths among Black Americans - particularly Black men - are accelerating; and,


WHEREAS, in 2019, over 1.3 million people in Michigan age 12 and older had abused an illicit drug in the past month; and,


WHEREAS, today, we join with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and various community networks to provide an opportunity for people to publicly mourn loved ones without feeling guilt or shame and send a message of love and support to those suffering from a substance use disorder;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim August 31, 2021, as Overdose Awareness Day in Michigan.