Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts chooses this week as Drug Overdose Awareness Week as overdose deaths continue to rise statewide and nationwide

LINCOLN, Nebraska – The state of Nebraska’s governor, Pete Ricketts, has proclaimed this week to be “Drug Overdose Awareness Week.” It comes at a time when the number of deaths caused by overdoses is steadily climbing across the country and even here in our own backyard.

According to the CDC, there were over 107,000 people who passed away as a result of an overdose in the United States in 2021. This is an increase of around 15 percent from the previous year.

The goal of the Nebraska Drug Overdose Awareness Week is to raise awareness about the devastating effects of drug overdose while also paying tribute to individuals whose lives have been changed by the epidemic. Stop Overdose Additionally, the state of Nebraska is making an effort to educate its citizens on the benefits of the life-saving tool Narcan, which is freely available to all Nebraska residents.

“Narcan is a way to revive someone from an opioid overdose,” Amy Holman with the Nebraska Pharmacist Association said. “Right now, so many things are laced with fentanyl, which is why it’s so important for people to have Narcan whether it’s someone actively using or your friend or loved one who may have an opioid disorder.

There were 138 overdose deaths in Nebraska in 2018. According to Stop Overdose Nebraska, there were a total of 209 overdose deaths in the year 2020, with around 35 percent of these being tied to opioids.

Anyone struggling with substance misuse or addiction can access a variety of support services provided by the state. Stop Overdose Nebraska is a site that may provide you with information about life-saving tools such as Narcan as well as a variety of different methods in which you can receive assistance.

“It’s one of the subjects that sometimes people don’t want to talk about, so I think just having this week for people to be able to take part in different things and to be educated, to hear people’s stories make that stigma not such a big thing,” Holman said. “Just being able to see other people have gotten through it and there is hope on the other side of it.”

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