New York State Department of Health Announces First State-Sponsored Overdose Awareness Day

Gathers the Community for A Day of Remembrance for Lives Lost

Recognizes Personal and Collective Achievements of Those Working for Overdose Prevention

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 9, 2021) - The New York State Department of Health today announced the first New York State-sponsored Overdose Awareness Day on September 9. Overdose Awareness Day is being held as a virtual event to honor the lives lost to overdose as well as to recognize the personal and collective achievements of the individuals and groups working to end overdose.

"This landmark event gathers the community to reflect on the lives lost, acknowledge the incredible work being done on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic and remind one another of the importance of overdose prevention," State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. "Governor Hochul shares our commitment and vision to combat overdose, and we will continue to support the vital programs that save New Yorkers' lives under her leadership."

New York's Overdose Awareness Day began with reflections and personal remembrances as attendees share how overdose has impacted their lives. Break-out sessions are exploring grief and loss, caring for frontline staff, and approaches to overdose prevention.

New York State has been a national leader in the response to the opioid crisis, and overdose prevention and awareness efforts date back to 1992 when the first syringe exchange program was authorized by the Department of Health. Since then, we have taken a people-centered approach in addressing the comprehensive needs of those who use drugs. The State's naloxone initiative, launched in 2006, has supported over 25,500 naloxone administrations, with more than 14,000 carried out by community responders to date.

The Department of Health has registered over 850 opioid overdose prevention programs which train community members in recognizing overdoses and in responding to them by administering naloxone. The Department provides overdose supplies, including naloxone, to registered programs. Community responders trained by these programs administered naloxone nearly 2,000 times in 2020. Over the last several years, we have worked to increase access to naloxone by having pharmacy standing orders in place for this medication. Through the State's Naloxone Co-Payment Assistance Program (N-CAP), insured individuals have co-payments of up to $40.00 covered by the State resulting in no, or lower, out of pocket expenses.

For more information about New York State's Opioid Overdose Prevention Initiative,visit or email