International Overdose Awareness Day marked


MID-HUDSON – Counties
across the region joined in marking International Overdose Awareness Day
on Friday as the opioid epidemic continues to claim lives.

A ribbon was cut and Putnam County’s Serenity Rock Garden was officially
opened Friday evening along the shores of Lake Mahopac.

The garden consists of a bench, table and individually placed rocks by
those who have lost someone to the scourge of opioids and other narcotics.

Lauren Privitera, a Mahopac woman who lost her son to a heroin overdose
in February 2015, decided to remember her son in a positive light while
helping other families left behind from loved ones overdosing on illegal
substances. She formed a Mahopac chapter of GRASP, a national support
group that assists families following the sudden drug related loss of
a loved one.

Four-year-old Liam Brandon and his sister,
Natalia, 9, write messages on rocks that were
placed in the garden in memory of their day,
who died as a result of a drug overdose.

Lauren Privitera remembers who son, who died
from a heroin overdose.

‘Grief Recovery after a Substance Passing’ has chapters across
the United States.

Privitera hosted the Hope and Healing Memorial where in addition to the
garden opening, tribute readings and a banner/book signing occurred.
The event was celebrated in conjunction with International Overdose
Awareness Day.

Across the Hudson River in Orange County, officials also recognized the

The day “Gives us the opportunity to address head on the serious
and pervasive issue of drug and heroin abuse,” said County Executive
Steven Neuhaus. “Addiction not only affects the individuals taking
the drug, but also impacts their families and friends.” He said
the fight against drug abuse is a collaboration with community partners.

District Attorney David Hoovler said his office and partners in law enforcement
and the community “are working tirelessly to address overdoses,
while bringing those who sell these substances to justice.”

County Mental Health and Social Services Commissioner Darcie Miller said
help and support are available to those struggling with opioid addiction
or abuse. “For those who mourn and advocate on behalf of loved ones
who have lost their battle with addiction, we hear you, grieve with you,
and agree that one death is one too many.”

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