Westchester recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day
Westchester officials, addiction service providers and those in recovery recognized the nation's largest campaign to end overdoses on Thursday in White Plains.
International Overdose Awareness Day is an opportunity to remember without stigma those who have died from an overdose, acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind, and promote resources available to those in need.
Originally from Mount Vernon's south side, Calvin Briggs, had a moment to celebrate.
"Today is 365 days without any substances," said Calvin Briggs, who shared his story of recovery.
Dan Smith, a certified addiction counselor at Mountainside Treatment Center which has a facility in Chappaqua, has gone more than a decade without alcohol or drugs.
"I'm able to run support groups, be able to answer the phone, and be available for those because of what recovery has given me," said Dan Smith.
The two men admitted they came from different situations but share the bond of fighting through the grips of addiction.
"Anybody who's out there struggling you know, there is hope," said Briggs.
Thursday was also a moment to remember those who weren't as fortunate.
"I lost my brother who was 27 years old," shared one woman.
Advocates took the opportunity to share available resources to those in need.
Two days ago Gov. Kathy Hochul directed eight million dollars towards harm reduction strategies.
Last year, Westchester launched an opioid response and overdose prevention initiative.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has already distributed nearly $200 million has already been distributed of the more than $2 billion from several settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributers.
Concrete steps to help guide people to the next day.
"My daughter said well, Dad that's 365 what happens next? I said, Well hopefully, God willing 366," said Briggs.