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WHEREAS, International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event that is held on August 31st of each year to remember those gone too soon from overdose deaths; and
WHEREAS, like many states, Virginia is fighting concurrent epidemics – while prescription opioids are driving deaths in rural areas of the Commonwealth, illicit opioid drugs are the primary drivers of deaths in suburban and urban areas; and
WHEREAS, in 2017, 1,536 Virginians died of drug overdose and 70,237 in the United States died of drug overdose; and
WHEREAS, Virginia encourages communities to develop and support local coalitions because this epidemic looks different in various parts of the state, and local engagement and leadership is imperative; and
WHEREAS, culture change happens in neighborhoods and local communities, and localities play a major role in assisting with the removal of the stigma of addiction and the normalization of recovery; and
WHEREAS, our dedicated treatment providers work tirelessly to help individuals with substance use disorders recover; and
WHEREAS, addiction is not a moral failing but a complex and treatable disease, and a life of recovery is possible; and
WHEREAS, on August 26, 2019, I announced that Virginia would expand the Framework for Addiction Analysis and Community Transformation (FAACT), which is a collaboration between the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, to the Roanoke Valley to help fight the opioid crisis; and
WHEREAS, International Overdose Awareness Day is an opportunity for all Virginians to stand beside those who have lost loved ones to an overdose and those who have a substance use disorder and are diligently working toward recovery; and
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize August 31, 2019, as INTERNATIONAL OVERDOSE AWARENESS DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.