Event promotes overdose awareness, honors those lost

In 2016, North Dakota had 61 deaths from overdoses, 41 more than just three years prior.

On August 31, there will be an International Overdose Awareness Day event at the Oak Park Amphitheater. The event will have guest speakers from the First District Health Unit, North Central Human Services, and speakers who are recovering addicts and advocates for the cause.

Speakers will talk about how to recognize and prevent overdoses and where to find local resources for those suffering from substance use disorders (SUDs). There will also be speakers there to share their own stories.

“The goal of the event is to raise awareness of overdose in the community: What it looks like, what you can do to help someone overdosing, how to prevent it, etc. Also, it is to honor those we’ve lost to overdoses,” said event host Mitzie Nay.

At the event, the non-profit organization, Aidan’s Promise Inc. will be accepting free will donations.

The organization was started in memory of Aidan Vanderhoef who died due to overdose in 2015. It was started by Nay, his mother, just this year.

“It is a non-profit set up to honor my son and help those with substance use disorders and the mental health issues that are often co-occurring disorders,” Nay said, when asked about the organization.

This will be the first year of the event, but supporters hope to make it an annual event. Previously, Nay had organized an event called Lights of Hope that focused on SUDs.

The International Overdose Awareness Day will start at 5 p.m. and continue to 8 p.m. There will be pizza from Marco’s Pizza being sold by the slice and water bottles while supplies last.

For more information, visit the event’s page on Facebook.