Head to Blazer Village before tomorrow’s UAB game + find out how you can save a life

International Overdose Awareness Day, UAB Football
Learn about International Overdose Awareness Day before the UAB football game on Thursday. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

One of UAB’s biggest football traditions is to visit with family and friends at Blazer Village, which opens in Uptown at 3PM tomorrow.

Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) will serve as the presenting sponsor of the UAB Blazer Village. Their focus: International Overdose Awareness Day. Why? Because we have a major overdose problem here in Jefferson County. Keep reading to find out what this means for you and why it matters.

Why highlight International Overdose Awareness Day before football kickoff?

ambulance, International Overdose Awareness Day
Fatal and non-fatal overdoses are adding new layers of crisis response to already-ready stressed first responders. Photo by Mat Napo on Unsplash

“We are losing our children, parents, siblings, significant others, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to overdose. This crisis impacts every community in Jefferson County: every gender, age, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

Based on recent provisional data released by the CDC, nearly 110,000 people died from overdose in the United States in 2022. In Jefferson County, overdose deaths increased 91.5% between 2019 and 2022 (236 in 2019 to 452 in 2022), and fentanyl-involved overdose deaths rose 273% from 2019 to 2022 (95 in 2019 to 355 in 2022).

This means overdose deaths have nearly doubled, and fentanyl-involved overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled in four short years.”

Jefferson County Department of Health

Accidental opioid overdose is a risk everyone needs to become aware of. In fact, any substance you purchase outside a healthcare provider’s office or pharmacy could be contaminated with fentanyl. This includes the following:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Counterfeit prescription meds
  • Marijuana products

Fentanyl test strips and naloxone are easy ways keep yourself and those you love safe, and are available via JCDH’s website to anyone in the State of Alabama.

Alabamians can get free opioid reversal medications thanks to JCDH, the Alabama Department of Mental Health and the Alabama Department of Public Health. Visit www.jcdh.org/naloxone for free training and to get a free opioid overdose kit. Questions? Email naloxonetraining@jcdh.org

What to expect on International Overdose Awareness Day

Narcan can be used to reverse an overdose
Narcan can be used to reverse an opioid overdose. Photo by NEXT Distro on Unsplash

Look out for in-person connections and messaging from JCDH and partner organizations both before and during the game. You can also get info on obtaining naloxone and fentanyl test strips, treatment and recovery inside Blazer Village (in the Uptown area) starting at 3PM.

BONUS: They’ll have 100 game tickets to give to members of the public who visit the JCDH tent at Blazer Village.

Need help for substance use?

Bradford Health Services
People are there to help, whether your or someone you care about is struggling. (Bham Now)
  • 1.844.307.1760 is a free 24/7 statewide substance use helpline sponsored by the Alabama Department of Mental Health + staffed by peer recovery support specialists from the Recovery Organization of Support Specialists (ROSS) to help you navigate treatment + recovery systems.
  • 205.458.3377 is the number for the Recovery Resource Center, a collaborative initiative dedicated to simplifying the process of navigating the substance use treatment system by providing a central point of information. All services are voluntary and offered at no cost to the client.
  • Connect Alabama Treatment Finder App: Browse through the app for information about mental health, substance use, prevention, treatment and the latest information on behavioral health services located in your area.
  • Alahope: a single curriculum for health professionals and others to learn more about substance use disorders. A collab between JCDH, the UAB School of Health Professions, the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners and the Auburn University Harrison College of Pharmacy.
  • More resources

The last word on International Overdose Awareness Day

“It is our most sincere hope that those we serve in Jefferson County and others around the State of Alabama will take time to learn about the risk of overdose and take advantage of the resources offered by JCDH and our community partners. We need everyone in the community to help us turn this around. It could impact any of us at any time.”

Dr. Darlene Traffanstedt, Medical Director of Family Planning, Health Equity and Population Health, JCDH

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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