‘It’s important that we focus on this’: Local officials place emphasis on Overdose Awareness Day

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 10:33 PM EDT
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(WYMT) - For officials in the Commonwealth, Tuesday granted an entire day for them to spread overdose awareness.

“We also seek to prevent addiction, to reduce stigma and to raise awareness,” Addiction Recovery Care Senior Vice President of Administration Matt Brown said.

Brown said that he and other officials are bringing attention to what they call an “addiction epidemic,” something that ARC Peer Support Specialist Eukie Ward is familiar with.

“It almost cost me my life,” Ward said. “Thankfully it didn’t but it cost me everything that I loved and owned.”

Kentucky saw a 54-percent increase in drug-related deaths from 2019 to 2020, a large number of those in the WYMT viewing area. Ward said that she suffered from a meth addiction but through recovery, found her calling.

“The one thing that I brought from that is that I can be an advocate for people who still are alive and struggling with addiction,” Ward said. “And show them you don’t have to die from addiction, you don’t have to lose your life from a drug overdose, that there is hope.”

Brown also has personal experience as he battled addiction for 18 years.

“I feel a sense of responsibility, as do many of the folks that I work with, to make sure that no more parents, no more brothers and sisters lose their family members to addiction,” Brown said.

After turning his life around, Brown said that he hopes to do the same for others.

“It’s important that we focus on this today because our future depends on how we react and how we treat the addiction epidemic today,” Brown said.

Wednesday also kicks off National Recovery Month.

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