By Teri Vance
The public is invited to a candlelight vigil Thursday at Bob McFadden Plaza in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day.
“The opioid epidemic is so huge, even in a town of our size,” said Samantha Szoyka, the youth program and outreach coordinator for Partnership Carson City. “As a community, we are starting to talk about it, but people still don’t know what resources are available to them or how they can connect with those resources.”
The vigil, which begins at 7 p.m., will feature a guest speaker and booths distributing information.
Across the street, the Opioid Memorial Wall will be on display all week at the Capitol, on the corner of Carson and Musser streets.
The wall is made up of two 8-by-4-foot pieces of plywood with empty pill bottles attached. Each of the 408 pill bottles represents one of the deaths from opioid overdose in Nevada in 2016.
That number increased slightly in 2017 to 412 dead from opioid overdose.
Each of the pill bottles features a statistic or quote to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic.
Some facts include: “In 2016, more than 42,000 people in America died of an opioid overdose,” and “275 million people worldwide take opioids.”
Quotes include, “Judgement can be a death sentence,” and “Overdose death is preventable.”
Earlier in the day Thursday, a free Naloxone training and lunch will be held in the conference room of Partnership Carson City, 1925 N. Carson St., at noon.
Participants will learn how to use the nasal spray Naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. They will also leave with a dose of the life-saving substance.
“You never know when you might need to use it,” Szoyka said. “It could be a child or a pet who takes it accidentally. Any person who is still breathing has a chance at getting help.”
The training will also include a history of opioids and an overview of the law that protects people who administer the reversal drug.
RSVPs are not necessary but are recommended.
To decrease the chance of overdose or illegal consumption, Partnership Carson City will host its regular Drug Roundup on Oct. 19.
Residents can dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs, over-the-counter products, prescription liquids, pet medications and syringes.
Drugs and needles can always be dropped off for disposal as well at the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, 911 E. Musser St.
Szoyka said the events are all aimed at increasing awareness of the opioid problem, providing support and preventing potential overdose.
“We want the community to be able to find the support they need for themselves or friends or family members,” she said. “It is a problem we are faced with as a community, and it will take the community to solve it.”
For more information or to RSVP for the training, call Partnership Carson City at (775) 841-4730 or go to pcccarson.org.