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As overdose deaths rise, community partners call on Metro Government to act

Ahead of International Overdose Awareness Day, a new Louisville organization is working to fight the crisis and reduce stigma. Tiny Herron is working alongside “VOCAL-KY” to honor the life of her late husband Todd and help others struggling with substance abuse. The 41-year-old died from a fentanyl overdose in 2018. “I feel like every single day, I hear of someone else that I know that has overdosed or has passed away,” Herron said. The rate of overdose deaths in Kentucky continues to be staggering. Data shows that 2,250 people died from an overdose last year, a 15% increase from numbers in 2020. “I think that things will be done, we always do things too late,” Herron said. “How many more have to die? Why did he have to die before anyone wants to talk about this?” VOCAL-KY, or voices of community activists and leaders, is dedicated to creating healthy and just communities. The people-led organization that recently created a chapter in Louisville has laid out the blueprint for Metro Government with a roadmap of strategies to tackle the problem. Some of their demands include further addressing the city’s housing issue, as homelessness increases overdose risks; expanding access to harm reduction services and tools like syringe exchange program; reducing the jail population and having Narcan in every jail cell.“Louisville metro government has an opportunity to take action by enacting short term, life-saving policy changes along with bolder public commitments to permanently end the crisis through housing, services and care,” said Shameka Parrish-Wright, director of VOCAL-KY.The groups say they’re hopeful state and city leaders are on board to end this deadly trend and commit to creating healthier communities and saving lives.“It is all of our responsibility to take care of people and take care of families,” Rep. Attica Scott said. “Families are in crisis, families are struggling, and they need our love and support, not our condemnation.” Community partners in this effort include the Louisville Recovery Community Connection, KY Harm Reduction Coalition, Hope Village, Feed Louisville, Rep. Attica Scott and Shameka Parrish-Wright. The full roadmap by VOCAL-KY can be found here.

Ahead of International Overdose Awareness Day, a new Louisville organization is working to fight the crisis and reduce stigma.

Tiny Herron is working alongside “VOCAL-KY” to honor the life of her late husband Todd and help others struggling with substance abuse. The 41-year-old died from a fentanyl overdose in 2018.

“I feel like every single day, I hear of someone else that I know that has overdosed or has passed away,” Herron said.

The rate of overdose deaths in Kentucky continues to be staggering. Data shows that 2,250 people died from an overdose last year, a 15% increase from numbers in 2020.

“I think that things will be done, we always do things too late,” Herron said. “How many more have to die? Why did he have to die before anyone wants to talk about this?”

VOCAL-KY, or voices of community activists and leaders, is dedicated to creating healthy and just communities. The people-led organization that recently created a chapter in Louisville has laid out the blueprint for Metro Government with a roadmap of strategies to tackle the problem.

Some of their demands include further addressing the city’s housing issue, as homelessness increases overdose risks; expanding access to harm reduction services and tools like syringe exchange program; reducing the jail population and having Narcan in every jail cell.

“Louisville metro government has an opportunity to take action by enacting short term, life-saving policy changes along with bolder public commitments to permanently end the crisis through housing, services and care,” said Shameka Parrish-Wright, director of VOCAL-KY.

The groups say they’re hopeful state and city leaders are on board to end this deadly trend and commit to creating healthier communities and saving lives.

“It is all of our responsibility to take care of people and take care of families,” Attica Rep. Scott said. “Families are in crisis, families are struggling, and they need our love and support, not our condemnation.”

Community partners in this effort include the Louisville Recovery Community Connection, KY Harm Reduction Coalition, Hope Village, Feed Louisville, Rep. Attica Scott and Shameka Parrish-Wright.

The full roadmap by VOCAL-KY can be found here.

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