Overdose Awareness is More Important Than Ever
Law Enforcement Professionals Support Harm Reduction Solutions in Honor of International Overdose Awareness Day
Today, people around the world are coming together to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day, a day to remember those who have died or suffered permanent injury due to drug overdose. This is a day to unite in honor of those we’ve lost, and while there’s so much going on in the world right now, finding effective solutions to this public health crisis is more important than ever.
Overdose is a global problem, but the solutions begin in our own communities. Addiction should be fought with compassion and, most importantly, with harm reduction methods and programs to save lives and protect public safety. Overdose deaths are not prevented through blindly preaching abstinence; they are prevented through realistic safeguards.
Covid-19 has drawn attention to the long-standing systemic disparities for communities of color. The rate of drug overdose deaths has increased in communities of color. According to the CDC, drug overdose deaths for the overall population increased by 21 percent but in communities of color, the increase was 40 percent, during the same time period.
Whenever possible, health issues like addiction should be removed from the scope of police responsibilities, allowing them to focus on real public safety concerns, and freeing limited resources to support services and institutions like on-demand treatment programs, which could reduce the likelihood of deaths by overdose and improve community health for everyone.
Our mission to keep communities safer remains the same, but our work has never been more urgent. We will not stop working to support harm reduction initiatives allowing people addicted to drugs to stabilize their lives and gain control over their recovery. Less than a year ago, LEAP was part of a groundbreaking victory, clearing a significant legal block for addiction intervention in cities across the nation considering opening overdose prevention centers. This law will save lives, and we couldn’t have been a part of it without you. Our speakers fight for changes to the system that acknowledge the realities of this public health crisis, employ a more practical approach, and ultimately keep our communities safer. To stand with us, donate now.
The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) is a nonprofit group of police, judges, prosecutors, and other criminal justice professionals who stand behind evidence based public safety solutions like accountability and transparency. LEAP’s more than 270 representatives speak on behalf of over 5,000 law enforcement members nationwide.