Planning is underway for the inaugural Haldimand Norfolk International Overdose Awareness Day.
Resilient Women’s Recovery will be running the free community event on Aug. 31 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Delhi Tobacco Museum.
Helping with the planning are group members April Carpenter and Ashley McCloskey, along with volunteer counsellor Tracey Stark.
RWR is a grassroots peer support group created by women for women and is focused on resiliency to recover from addictions. It has been meeting since April.
“The resiliency based method is proven effective,” said McCloskey. “We want to do things that are proven to help the women.”
Stark, who has served in various social service capacities for more than 30 years, said the group is beneficial.
“It’s not just a 9-5 group,” she said.
“They can call each other for support, they can organize positive recreational activities. They have safe friends and boundaries in their group.
“One of the goals of the group is to prevent overdose, because every one of them has lost someone to overdose.”
Carpenter and McCloskey, who have both previously lived with addictions, said they found it is easier to talk to someone who had gone through the same thing as them.
“We already have one group member that is two weeks sober,” said Carpenter.
“She says it’s because of the group,” noted McCloskey.
“Without the group, she would not have had the strength to do it on her own,” added McCloskey.
The group also has representation on the Harm Reduction Action Team, which raises awareness of opioid-related harms in Haldimand-Norfolk.
The RWR group, which receives no government funding, recently held a garage sale to help raise money for the awareness day. The group also has started a GoFundMe online account, seeking to raise money for the Aug. 31 event, which is dedicated to overdose victims.
At the garage sale, group members handed out business cards that included tips on helping someone experiencing an overdose.
“I was shocked with how the community came out and really supported that garage sale,” Stark said.
International Overdose Awareness Day is held annually across the world. The first event was held in Australia in 2001.
The Haldimand Norfolk event will include a memorial hike, training on how to use naloxone which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, community information sessions, music and poetry. The naloxone training will be conducted by a group of pharmacists, who also will be be distributing naloxone kits.
“We would hope that all people in the community will come out,” said Stark.
“It’s about every member of the community being responsible for preventing overdose, and knowing the signs. It’s being part of the solution because recovery requires community.”