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Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council, in partnership with Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas and other regional funders, opened its provocative opioid memorial Sept. 23 inside Roosevelt Field in Garden City. Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Sept. 28 in the mall’s north court. The memorial provides resources to visitors and puts a face on the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, personalizing an issue that was declared a public health emergency in 2017.
Nassau County is the eighth stop on the memorial’s nationwide tour and the third stop in New York, the only state to host it multiple times. Unveiled in Chicago in November 2017, the memorial has visited Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Fayetteville, Ark., Houston, Buffalo, N.Y., Albany, N.Y., and Washington, D.C., where it was displayed on the Ellipse in President’s Park at the White House.
“For the first time in U.S. history, a person is more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than a motor vehicle crash,” said Lorraine M. Martin, NSC president and CEO. “The data can start the conversation, but the stories move us to action. We are honored to return to New York and bring this powerful exhibit to Nassau County.”
“The opioid epidemic has taken an incredible toll on Long Island families, and we are encouraged by a recent drop in overdoses,” District Attorney Singas said. “As we work to turn the tide on the devastating scourge of opioid addiction, we are proud to partner with the National Safety Council and our generous sponsors to bring this moving and powerful campaign to Roosevelt Field. I hope many of our neighbors will take time to visit, experience and learn from this incredible memorial before it continues on its nationwide journey.”
NSC launched Prescribed to Death, a multifaceted exhibit aimed at changing Americans’ attitudes toward opioids, as a part of the Council’s Stop Everyday Killers public education campaign. The centerpiece of the exhibit is a wall of 22,000 engraved white pills, each representing the face of someone lost to a prescription opioid overdose in 2015, the latest set of data available at the time of the exhibit’s launch. Since then, opioid overdose deaths have more than doubled.
New York has been hit particularly hard. More than 3,200 people in New York fatally overdosed on opioids in 2017, and Long Island residents accounted for nearly 20% of those deaths. That year, Nassau County alone lost 193 people to opioid overdose.
New York State resident Avi Israel, who founded Save the Michaels of the World after losing his son, Michael, lent his son’s personal effects to display as part of the exhibit. Visitors enter a small remembrance room where Mr. Israel shares Michael’s story in a short video.
The memorial is accompanied by resources that help visitors safely dispose of unused pills in their homes and facilitate discussions with prescribers about alternatives. Visitors receive first-of-their-kind “Opioids: Warn Me” labels to affix to their insurance cards, empowering them to discuss with prescribers the risks of taking opioids and whether other pain relief options are available. The Council has partnered with Stericycle, a Chicago-based waste disposal company, to provide Seal-and-Send medication disposal envelopes to help visitors easily get rid of unused medications. The envelopes are safe, reliable and anonymous.
Individuals who have lost someone to opioid overdose have the opportunity to add their loved one’s name to a digital memorial on site. Those who are unable to visit the exhibit can share their loved one’s story and a photo by using the Council’s interactive online map, Celebrating Lost Loved Ones.
The exhibit is underwritten by contributions from RXR Realty, Northwell Health, The New York Mets Foundation, Save the Michaels of the World, Flexion Therapeutics, Eric and Marc Blumencranz, Stericycle and Schneider. Visit stopeverydaykillers.org for more information.
About the National Safety Council The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. Founded in 1913 and chartered by Congress, NSC advances this mission by partnering with businesses, government agencies, elected officials and the public in areas where we can make the most impact.
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