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Activity: International Overdose Awareness Day Resource Event and Press Conference
Date: 31/08/2020
Time: 09:00 am
Location: Numerous physical and Virtual Sites. Resource and Press Conference to be held at Jackson Blvd. and Pulaski Ave, Chicago, IL
Public/Private: Public
Individual/Organisation: Organisation
Name of Organisation: West Side Heroin/Opioid Task Force (Chicago, IL)
Contact: Lee Rusch
Phone: 17734501567

West Side Heroin/Opioid Task Force member agencies and individuals will be conducting various in-person and virtual events throughout the day, with Resource Event and Press Conference being a kick-off recognition of the day. Participating organizations will deliver OEND service, PPE distribution, Hep-C testing, housing support, first aid and medical screenings, Census registration. There will be recognition and remembrance of those who we have lost to overdose, and a recommitment to more OEND, linkages to OUD treatment, including Medicin Assisted Recovery. Other member agencies will have frequent postings on social media, both pre-done and live. These include sharing of memorials, personal testimony, panel discussions, OEND videos, etc. The Task Force Social media director will be attempting to run member postings through the Task Force FB page: @westsidetaskforce2020

The press conference will be convened by State Representative La Shawn K. Ford, IL-8. The focus will be on the dramatic racial disparity of overdoses and resultant deaths in the Black and Latinx Communities in Chicago and across the state of IL. Excerpt from the rep. Ford’s Press Release:

Opioid-related overdoses and deaths have risen at alarming rates in Chicago. West Side Black residents account for a disproportionate number of those deaths. According to the June 30, 2020 Chicago Department of Public Health Alert, from January 1, 2020 through May 31, 2020, there have been at least 472 opioid-related overdose deaths in Chicago, which is an increase of 46% from the same time in 2019. Of the 86 opioid-related overdose deaths in May 2020 in Chicago, 56% were Black, 22% were White, and 19% were Latinx. Most significantly, of those 86 deaths, 81% involved fentanyl, either alone or in combination with heroin. Fentanyl-contaminated cocaine is also increasingly seen as a cause of overdose and death.