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BUFFALO, NY – The National Safety Council made Buffalo the fourth stop on a nationwide tour of its exhibit, Prescribed to Death: A Memorial to the Victims of the Opioid Crisis, by unveiling the exhibit inside the Honda Pavilion at Canalside. The Memorial’s arrival – made possible through a partnership with BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and Save the Michaels of the World – comes in the midst of an opioid crisis that continues to worsen. NSC analysis indicates more than 3,000 New York residents fatally overdosed on opioids in 2016 – an increase of nearly 39% from the previous year.
The memorial exhibit is one of several components of the Council’s Stop Everyday Killers campaign – a national effort to help educate Americans about the risks of taking opioids and put a face on the thousands killed from preventable overdoses. The memorial launched last year in Chicago and has since visited Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. It will travel to Houston next.
“The most fatally abused drug today may be sitting in medicine cabinets across New York,” said NSC President and CEO Deborah A.P. Hersman. “Fortunately, we know what we need to do to eliminate more than 22,000 preventable deaths each year, and education plays a critical role. We hope the Stop Everyday Killers campaign helps personalize this tragedy in order to save lives.”
The Prescribed to Death exhibit includes a memorial wall made of 22,000 small white pills – each carved with a human face to represent those lost to prescription opioid overdose in 2015. Buffalo resident Avi Israel, who founded Save the Michaels of the World after losing his son, Michael, lent his son’s personal effects to the National Safety Council to display as part of the exhibit. Visitors enter a small remembrance room where Mr. Israel shares Michael’s story in a short video.
Visitors will receive first-of-their-kind Opioid Warn-Me labels for insurance and pharmacy cards in an effort to prompt a critical conversation between patients and prescribers about risks and possible alternatives. NSC partnered with Stericycle, a Chicago-based waste disposal company, to provide pre-paid Seal and Send envelopes to memorial visitors so they can easily and anonymously mail back old or unused prescriptions safely.
Individuals who have lost loved ones to opioid overdose will have the opportunity to honor them at Canalside by adding their loved one’s name to a digital memorial provided by the National Safety Council, or by sharing photos, flowers or personal effects on site. Please note, items will not be returned.
Prescribed to Death is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. August 20-26. The exhibit is underwritten by contributions from BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Save the Michaels of the World, Stericycle, DiVal Safety and Supplies, The John R. Oishei Foundation, First Niagara Foundation, Addiction Open Access Hotline and Schneider National.
Visit stopeverydaykillers.org for information about the campaign.
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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