International Overdose Awareness Day

Community invited to an event hosted by Reading Police and Reading Coalition for Prevention and Support

Reading, MA — Police Chief David Clark and Director Erica McNamara would like to invite the community to join the Reading Police Department, the Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support, and the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition as they recognize International Overdose Awareness Day.

WHEN: Wednesday, Aug. 31, at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Reading Police Department, 15 Union St., Reading, MA

WHAT: Reading Police, the Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support, and the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition will come together to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day in Reading, and to spread the word about a coming project to remember loved ones lost to overdose.

Speakers will include Chief Clark, Director Erica McNamara of the Reading Coalition for Prevention and Support, and Reading Town Manager Fidel Maltez.

International Overdose Awareness Day seeks to facilitate a better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug misuse.

Statistics and anecdotal evidence for this year show that the situation is becoming ever-more critical, exacerbated in many areas by the pandemic decreasing the tolerance of people who use drugs and disrupting both services and the drug supply chain.

“The opioid epidemic has shown all too clearly that overdose can affect anyone, from any class level or position in life, and that the resulting pain for families is devastating,” said Chief Clark. “I hope community members will join us as we recognize how much has been lost, and work together to honor the memories of those whose lives were claimed by this disorder.”

Additionally, the Reading Police Department would like to call attention to a regional story-gathering effort — A Walk to Remember — which is being led by the Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support in partnership with the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition.

The organizations will be gathering stories from around the region (Malden, Medford, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield and Winchester) to honor those lost to substance misuse. These stories will be displayed at a special event in September to promote understanding, compassion, and change. An online story display also will be made available.

To participate in the “Walk to Remember” story-gathering effort, visit or click here to share your story and picture of a loved one.

To learn more about International Overdose Awareness Day, visit:

About The Reading Coalition
The Reading Coalition for Prevention & Support, formerly known as RCASA, was established in 2006 in Reading. The coalition started as a town, police, school, and community initiative focused on improving collaboration and reducing substance misuse. Today, the coalition funded under the Reading Police Department, offers programs and services that focus on substance misuse prevention and mental health promotion. Visit the Coalition at Follow the Coalition on Instagram, like it on Facebook, and follow it on Twitter.

About the Mystic Valley Public Health Coalition (MVPHC)
MVPHC connects Malden, Medford, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, and Winchester. Together, the Coalition collaborates on importance prevention initiatives to support its communities. Find more info at

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