Editorial: Overdose awareness, prevention

Between last Tuesday and Thursday night, more than 100 overdoses were reported in nearby New Haven, linked to a toxic batch of synthetic marijuana known as K2.

The reports of dozens of people dropping on the historic New Haven Green as emergency crews scrambled to save lives was shocking, to say the least.

Thankfully, none of those overdoses proved fatal. Still, news of fatal overdoses, often linked to heroin laced with fentanyl or other opioids are more common than ever.

It’s a sobering reminder of the deadly power of drugs, addiction.

Whatever the drug of choice may be, addiction is a disease that can be hard to see and difficult to understand for those not under its power and, therefore, easier to judge or dismiss.

That’s slowly changing.

On Aug. 30, dozens of local residents will gather in a Shelton park to spread a message of hope and healing in the face of drug abuse and overdose deaths.

It’s all thanks to a brave mother who decided four years ago to start the FADE (Fighting Against Drugs Everywhere) 5K in her son’s memory. Julia Markarian’s son, Stephen Medeiros died of drug overdose six years ago.

The walk/run returns to the Shelton Riverwalk next Thursday, Aug. 30, right before International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31.

Proceeds are donated to BHCare, which offers regional mental health and addiction services. Pam Mautte, who is the director of the Alliance for Prevention & Wellness at BHCare, said the money from the event goes directly to youth-based substance abuse prevention.

As Mautte told The Herald: “Prevention does work and we’re saving lives.”

This year’s FADE 5K starts at 5:45 p.m. at the Shelton Pavilion and Riverwalk Aug. 30.

This year’s event will include a professionally-timed sunset 5K run/walk, live music, resource fair and will conclude with a candlelight remembrance ceremony. Names will be read of loved ones lost to overdose.

Online registration is $25 now until Aug. 28. Race day registration is $30. You can sign up now at RunSignUp.com and find more information online at Facebook.com/FightingAgainstDrugsEverywhere.

Last year, more than 150 participants signed up and Markarian is hoping for similar, if not better, participation this year.  

Please, join your neighbors next Thursday, Aug. 30 in the cause of creating a healthier future and a more supportive community for all who face down the disease of addiction.

Help them make it out alive.