Updated: October 3, 2022
Thanks to Makawao Merchants, the Maui Police Department, Maui Behavioral Health Resources and volunteers, International Overdose Awareness Day was observed Aug. 1-31 on Maui to bring attention to the message that overdose death is preventable.
More than 25 merchants hung purple lights and End Overdose signs on Aug. 1 in memory of lives lost to drug addiction.
Aloha House is one of three partner agencies of the Maui Behavioral Health Resources that works to help individuals with behavioral health and substance use issues. At Aloha House, staff are working on preventing overdose by providing substance use disorder treatment, and additional care for long term recovery.
“We do community outreach to help people assess their situation, and decide if treatment is right for them,” said Keturah Stone, Program Director of Aloha House.
She said the Maui Police Department has been very supportive in outreach efforts. “We meet people who need to be stabilized. Oftentimes people are in crisis due to a change in a relationship, or maybe they ran out of a medication, or they need to be detoxing. Once they have been through detox, we offer our residential treatment and outpatient services. Long-term support is important as it provides housing, peer support and other community resources. We know recovery is possible and overdoses can be prevented. The support shown here today and donations made will help those in need,” said Stone.
Ian Burke, owner of Rodeo General he was surprised to hear how the CDC reported 107,822 people died from overdose in 2021. “I am personally grateful to help this project as we had an employee overdose in the last year. I want to help remember those who died and raise funds for Aloha House,” said Burke.
Morgan Miller, owner of Satori Restaurant said, “We are saddened that so many families are affected by this disease. One of my employees also overdosed in the past year. Grateful this day also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died as a result of a drug overdose.”
Miller added, “We are proud to carry the End Overdose t-shirts and lanterns to raise funds in support of Aloha House.” Miller and his staff volunteered to hang the IOAD banner on their site.”
Linda Vincent, of Kula, spearheaded the project to honor her son, who died on Aug. 12, 2019 of an accidental opioid overdose. I first learned of International Overdose Awareness Day when the Mayor of Honolulu sent a picture of their government buildings with purple lights to our family. It was so touching to me as a way to honor all of those who have died from this preventable disease.”
Vincent said, “I previously organized this project in Rhinebeck, NY (my former home) in 2020 and 2021 with great success. The response from Makawao merchants has been remarkable.”
She added, “What’s next was asked at the press conference. Now that we have raised awareness, we will work towards getting the Governor of Hawaii and the Mayor of Maui involved in our next projects.”
For more information and resources visit https://www.overdoseday.com/