White Balloons Released to Highlight Overdose Deaths

One hundred white balloons will be released into the skies above Callendar Park in Falkirk on 31 August 2013 to remember those who have died from a drug overdose and recognise others that have been left suffering permanent injuries.

The event is being organised by the Forth Valley Alcohol and Drug Partnership to mark International Overdose Awareness Day.

Family and friends affected by drug overdose will each be invited to attach a message-label to a helium-filled balloon and native Scottish trees and snowdrops will also be planted. In addition, those attending can contribute to a book of remembrance and attach a photograph of someone they have lost. The entries will later be collated into a book for circulation and display to alcohol and drug services across Forth Valley.

The event will be held at the rear of Callendar House from 1pm – 3pm, at the side of the ornamental garden. The organisers say that as well as being a commemorative event, International Overdose Awareness Day is also seen as an opportunity to promote a very important preventative message.

Dr. Claire McIntosh, NHS Forth Valley Consultant Psychiatrist and Chair of the Forth Valley Drug Related Deaths group, said:

 My work, both as a Forth Valley clinician and Chair of the Forth Valley Drug-related Deaths and Critical Incident group has shown me many examples over the years of the impact drug overdose can have on families.

“Our research shows that people who die of overdose are terribly missed by their children, partners, parents and friends. Often one drug death can cause many ripples in communities. I think it’s very important to do all we can to prevent drug overdose through the provision of Naloxone and encouraging people to get treatment.”

Naloxone is a medication that temporarily reverses the effects of opiate overdose to allow time for the emergency services to attend.  Its use is very much welcomed by Alastair Jamieson, who chairs the Forth Recovery Community.He said:

 It has been good to see the introduction of Naloxone kits in Forth Valley. It is a welcome weapon in the battle against overdose and is particularly important in our smaller rural areas.”

Anyone worried about their own or someone else’s drug and/or alcohol use should contact Signpost Recovery on 0845 673 1774 for free and confidential advice.   The Forth Valley Recovery Community can be contacted by email: forthrecoverycommunity@gmail.com, or by phone on 07908555234.