Statement on Overdose Awareness Day

The following is a statement from Sharen I. Duke, Executive Director and CEO of The Alliance for Positive Change, in regards to International Overdose Awareness Day:

"The New York Times reports that U.S. drug overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeded 59,000. More than enough to fill Yankee Stadium.

That staggering finding be a wakeup call that our country – and our city and state – are facing an unparalleled epidemic as Americans consume more opioids than any other country in the world.

In fact, New York City has become an epicenter of the epidemic. New data exposes how widespread use is becoming: there were 1,374 confirmed overdose deaths in New York City in 2016 – a shocking 46% increase over 2015.

Thursday, August 31 marks International Overdose Awareness Day, an opportunity to raise awareness about opioid abuse and reduce the stigma of drug-related death. We are stepping up so New Yorkers can rise up.


The Alliance for Positive Change is on the frontlines of the epidemic: we are preventing overdoses by offering free Naloxone trainings at our Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center (LESHRC). Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medication that reverses overdoses from opioids, including heroin and prescription painkillers. By training more New Yorkers to administer this life-saving drug to family members, friends, and colleagues, we can help stave off deadly overdoses.

These trainings are offered year-round and are just one aspect of our clinical intervention and recovery services – including one-on-one counseling and coaching, education, syringe exchange services, housing resources, and HIV/HCV testing – to help New Yorkers lead healthier lives. To be trained on Naloxone, please visit, call LESHRC at 212-226-6333, or visit 25 Allen Street.

We are just as committed, as we have been since our founding 27 years ago, to supporting those who are struggling with severe health conditions including addiction. At our LESHRC, we provide a judgment-free space for services that mitigate the harmful effects of substance use disorders and reduce overdose deaths.

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50; it’s clear that we need humane solutions to reduce the harm caused by addiction. Only then will we see positive change – and that is what we what are committed to."