ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett was the keynote speaker at the second annual statewide Overdose Awareness Day. The two-day online event honored the lives of those lost to overdose, and highlighted the progress made by harm reduction advocates in opioid overdose prevention programs, such as syringe exchange, and those working to erase stigma.

“I am honored to acknowledge and celebrate the providers who work diligently and with great compassion to help overcome the stigma of addiction and the grief of overdose,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “Too many lives have been lost or changed forever by the opioid overdose epidemic, which is why I issued a standing order last month for naloxone to be obtained without a prescription at pharmacies across New York State.”

Beginning on Sept. 14, the online program honored the lives of those lost to overdose and included discussions with people about their personal experiences with drug use. The conversation acted as a virtual safe space for those in need of support, and also included a remembrance slide show.


Dr. Bassett opened the Sept. 15 webinar for health and human service providers, including peers who support those battling the harms of drug use. The program also included other presenters, workshops and panel discussions offering information about traumatic loss including overdose and suicide, as well as discussions on empowering efforts to end stigma and overdose.