DEARBORN — Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities (LAHC), a long-running, Dearborn-based and Arab-founded nonprofit, will be hosting an International Overdose Awareness Day event on Aug. 24, in honor of those lost to substance overdoses.
The international day to commemorate and raise awareness around overdoses occurs on Aug. 31.
The event will see 100 flowers planted in honor of the more than 100,000 lives lost to overdoses in 2021. Opioid and other drug related overdoses have been a particular community issue in Arab American neighborhoods in Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and Detroit. Latest accessible data from the state shows Wayne County far surpassed the tri-county area in southeast Michigan for per capita overdose rates.
“Each flower planted represents 1,000 lives lost to overdose this past year,” said Mara Phillips, project coordinator of the LAHC’s ACT Drug Free Community Coalition. “While 100 flowers can’t accurately measure the scale of the lives lost or families harmed by this epidemic, we hope it can provide a safe, healing outlet for those that have been affected.”
The event welcomes those in the community to plant a flower in honor of their lost loved ones. Narcan training, resource distribution and community service hours for participation in the event are also available. Those interested in participating can stop on Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. at the LAHC Headquarters located at 5275 Kenilworth St. in Dearborn.
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global annual event aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends, remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury due to a drug overdose.
“Our goal is to minimize the number of overdoses within our community through education and awareness, offering families and friends a safe space to mourn the loss of their loved ones, and reducing stigma surrounding substance misuse in general,” Phillips said. “We work towards this goal every day, and in everything we do.”
The LAHC is a “human services agency with the mission to empower communities, one family at a time, by advancing the social, educational, health and economic well-being of Southeast Michigan residents.”
For more information, visit www.lahc.org.