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City raises awareness about increase in drug overdoses

Los Angeles City Hall was lit in purple in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day. (photo courtesy of the 5th District council office)

Los Angeles City Hall was illuminated in purple on Aug. 31 to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day, a global event held annually to raise awareness about overdoses and reduce the stigma of drug-related death. Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, started an initiative three years ago to observe International Overdose Awareness Day. In addition to City Hall, the pylons at Los Angeles International Airport were illuminated in purple.

“For the third year in the row, illuminating Los Angeles City Hall purple should serve as a beacon of love and support for families and friends, and those fighting addiction, that you are not alone and that help is available,” Koretz said. “No family is immune to the devastation of drug addiction, and far too many suffer the heartbreak of losing loved ones to overdose. Addiction and overdose effect people of all races, religions and socioeconomic status. It is especially important to note that many people who are overdosing unwarily took drugs laced with fentanyl who may have otherwise survived their recreational usage regardless of their level of addiction.”

The city has partnered with the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Drug Awareness Foundation on efforts to address addiction.

“Now more than ever, it is important to raise awareness about drug deaths,” said Juli Shamash, founder of the Drug Awareness Foundation. “We are also working to warn first time and recreational users that if they purchase drugs anywhere besides a pharmacy, there’s a good chance those drugs could contain enough fentanyl to kill them.”

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