Posted on: August 27, 2021

International Overdose Awareness Day - A Time to Remember, A Time to Act




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                Contact: David S. Castleman

                                                                                                    Division Chief of Rescue

(904) 255-3302


International Overdose Awareness Day - A Time to Remember, A Time to Act


JACKSONVILLE, Fla., August 26, 2021 – In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, which is observed on the 31st of August each year, Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department (JFRD) and Drug Free Duval, are offering free, online training on recognizing the signs of an overdose and how to administer NARCAN® Nasal Spray, an FDA approved treatment for an opioid overdose. Participants are eligible to receive free NARCAN® kit following training. A training session will be offered on Monday, 8/30 at 2:00 PM and Wednesday, 9/15 at noon. Registration is required and can be completed at this link.


International Overdose Awareness Day seeks to create better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use. Mayor Lenny Curry signed a proclamation to recognize Overdose Awareness Day in Jacksonville on 8/31/21 to “encourage all citizens to recognize the importance of loved ones lost to an overdose and to raise awareness regarding substance abuse and help prevent future overdoses in our community.” The Acosta Bridge and the Florida Blue tower will be lit in purple that night to remember and honor loved ones lost to overdose and send a message of support to families and loved ones affected by overdose.


This cause is more important now than ever. 2020 was the deadliest year in our city's history, and for the United States, for overdose-related deaths. More than 93,000 lives were lost to drug overdose last year in the US, driven in part by the pandemic and the adulteration of the illicit drug supply with fentanyl - an extremely potent and dangerous synthetic opioid. In the first half of 2021, Jacksonville firefighters responded to an average of 14 overdose calls each day. You can help prevent overdose death by learning to recognize the signs of an overdose, calling 911, and administering NARCAN® Nasal Spray while awaiting firefighters to arrive.


This training and NARCAN® Nasal Spray are being offered through the Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Project, a program funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and in-kind contributions from the City of Jacksonville. 


Please contact Division Chief David Castleman at (904) 630-7055 or if you have any questions related to the Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Project. If you need access to NARCAN or would like to schedule NARCAN training for your organization, please contact Project Director Laura Viafora Ray at (904) 255-7730 or


For information on substance use treatment options near you, please visit or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).


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