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Activity: International Overdose Awareness Day Panel Discussion
Date: 31/08/2021
Time: 12:30 pm
Public/Private: Public
Individual/Organisation: Organisation
Name of Organisation: Temple University College of Public Health
Contact: Luisa Klemm

There were over 90,000 overdose deaths in the 12-month period ending January 2021, an unprecedented increase of nearly 30%. During the same time, the rate in Pennsylvania increased about 17% with over 5000 death. In Philadelphia, the number of overdose related deaths was 1214, a 9% increase in a city that already had the second highest overdose rate in the country. It is important to note that overdose deaths rose 29% for Black persons in Philly and dropped 10% for white persons. Overdose deaths are more common with opioid and stimulant (with or without opioid adulteration) use and reported differently than deaths from alcohol poisoning. However, deaths from alcohol poisoning with and without depressants and opioids is also increasing. There are several ways to reduce overdose deaths, collectively referred to as Harm Reduction, however, stigma around persons who use substances reduces community acceptance of these strategies.

International Overdose Awareness Day was started in 2001 and aims to raise awareness about the risks of overdose, educate persons on how to intervene when witnessing an overdose, and offer family members and communities a space to honor – without stigma- their loved ones who have died from overdose. IOAD is run by a non-profit Australian public health organization who support evidence-based strategies and policy.

This year the College of Public Health has put together a diverse panel who will speak on how the overdose crises has affected the North Philadelphia community, substance use stigma and its impact on overdose prevention, the signs of overdose, how to respond to an overdose, and how medical amnesty can protect Temple students who report substance use related emergencies.


Clayton Ruley: Prevention Point Philadelphia Director of Community Engagement and Volunteer Services

Katherine Zuk: Social and Behavioral Sciences Grad Student/TA

James J. Graham III D.O.: Medical Director- Crisis Response Center, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University Hospital

Megan M. Patrick, Ed.D: Assistant Dean, Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, Temple University


Deirdre Dingman, DrPH, MPH, CHES: Assistant Professor Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Kate Gallagher, MSW, LCSW: Director of Community Based Learning for the Office of Community-Engaged Research and Practice