Organizers are preparing for the second North Texas Overdose Awareness Day this weekend in Denton.
International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on Aug. 31 every year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related death, while also remembering the loved ones who have died or had a permanent injury from drug overdose. Last year was the first time an IOAD event was held locally, with about 250 people in attendance.
Sharon Roland, a Denton County woman who lost her son, Randy, to an overdose, wanted to bring IOAD to North Texas. Sharon said in an interview last year that Randy struggled to cope with the sudden death of his father when Randy was a teenager, and he turned to alcohol, then marijuana, then harder drugs. Though he had periods of success and even worked in addiction research after earning a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree, Randy died more than three years ago of a heroin and Fentanyl overdose at the age of 32.
Sharon and her family organized the overdose awareness event last year and is planning this year’s event, which is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, on the south lawn of the Denton Courthouse-on-the-Square. Speakers will include Denton Mayor Chris Watts, Denton Police Chief Frank Dixon, District Judge Tiffany Haertling, ER Doctor Danielle Hansen and others sharing personal stories. There will be 26 local and area resource providers will provide information during the event, including Denton ISD, the University of North Texas and the DEA. Narcan, an opioid antagonist, will be demonstrated and distributed.