ORLANDO, Fla. – Central Florida leaders came together with families to mourn those lost to overdose deaths and look toward solutions for those struggling with opioids.
The memorial service, held on International Overdose Awareness Day, was organized by Project Opioid and First Presbyterian Church of Orlando.
“This epidemic does not discriminate,” Andrae Bailey, founder of Project Opioid, said. “There are thousands of Central Floridians who have been impacted by this crisis. We will remember those lost and look toward ways we can help.”
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Della Wiggins, who lost her son in 2018 from an overdose, was at the service and said she uses her story to help others who have been affected by opioids.
“My son loved life,” Wiggins said. “He loved all of the outdoor fishing and all that kind of stuff and he’s just not someone that you would think this would happen to.”
Wiggins said she’s worked with Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma who was also at the service and has made the opioid crisis a priority.
“We have a problem on our hands, and we have to come together and combat it,” Lemma said.
While Lemma said there’s been a 16% reduction in overdoses in Seminole County, he wants to see a larger decrease happen much sooner.
“The numbers are still incredibly alarming,” Lemma said. “Since January 1 in Seminole County alone, we’ve had over 650 overdoses and sadly 65 overdose deaths.”
Project Opioid also distributed free Naloxone in the form of nasal Narcan spray to those in attendance. Narcan is a non-toxic, non-narcotic, life-saving medicine that can reverse the effects of an overdose.
For details about resources in battling the opioid crisis, click here.
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