On Int’l. Overdose Awareness Day, Louisville Community Calls on Elected Officials to Take Action on Overdose

CONTACT: Mariah McGough, mariah@vocal-ky.org, 203 470 9979


Advocates are Calling for Elected Officials to Take Immediate Steps and Make Long-Term Commitments Laid Out in VOCAL-KY’s Roadmap to End Overdose

LOUISVILLE,  K.Y. — Today, members of the harm reduction community and those impacted by New York’s overdose crisis will gather for International Overdose Awareness Day for a rally and march to demand Louisville Metro Government adopt the 2022 Roadmap for Louisville Metro Government to End Overdose, as well as urge Kentucky Representatives to champion key state legislation, and demand all opioid abatement money be used for housing, services and care. 

“The longer our elected officials wait to act on our preventable overdose crisis, the more Kentuckians will needlessly die,” said Shameka Parrish-Wright, Director of VOCAL-KY. “Overdose prevention is healthcare. Housing is healthcare. We need the community, service providers, and lawmakers to work together to end this epidemic.”

“Our friends and family members are disappearing from our lives,” said Christen “Tiny” Herron from The Hope Village. “If we know something, and know other people aren’t going to act on it, then we should!”

“Most folks today (especially our government officials and other community leaders) adhere to a very narrow, mechanical understanding of harm reduction.  While the delivery instrument and disease transmission from the instrument is an imperative component of harm reduction,  it’s only a very narrow understanding and only addresses one aspect of drug-related harm,”  said Shreeta Waldon, Executive Director of the KY Harm Reduction Coalition (KyHRC). “Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition is here to share how the true foundation of harm reduction encompasses the delivery of basic health and screening services to underserved, marginalized populations as a means of achieving long-term individual health and wellness. We do this much needed work by simply engaging individuals, right where they are in this journey of life, by providing tools and education on ways to reduce self and/or community harms, leading to empowering folks to make healthier decisions toward the life they desire to live. A right that should not be afforded to just one group, but in an equitable manner and to all individuals, from all backgrounds.”

“As long as we continue to push the archaic policies of the failed war on drugs people will continue to die in record numbers,” said Jeremy Byard, CEO, Founder, Louisville Recovery Community Connection (LRCC). “In 2022, if we are not talking about having a safe and regulated drug supply, overdose prevention centers and decriminalization, then we will continue to perpetuate the harms and are complicit with every single poisoning death in our nation.”

“Harm reduction is direct action that saves countless lives with or without government approval, affords basic human rights to the poor that have always been a privilege to the rich,” said Donny Greene, Outreach Director, Feed Louisville. “End overdoses, end the drug war and save our community. No one saves us but us.”