International Overdose Awareness Day event held in West Garfield Park

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CHICAGO — Tuesday is International Overdose Awareness Day, the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdoses. 

The West Side Heroin and Opioid Task Force marked the day with an event in West Garfield Park. 

The task force was formed in 2016. 

The force brings together community and faith-based organizations and recovery groups, health care providers and government entities. 

Tuesday, the task force gave out free information aimed at stopping overdoses. 

“We’re here today to remember those people who have lost their lives due to overdose and also to make sure that people out here know how to save a life,” said Lee Rusch, the director of the West Side Heroin-Opioid Task Force. “We want to lower the rates of overdose. We want to actually eliminate overdose rates on Chicago’s Westside.”

In Cook County, roughly 30 people die each month from an opioid overdose. 

During last year’s lockdown, the number increased by nearly 25%. 

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