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City of Jackson Spreads Overdose Awareness in the Aging Community

JACKSON, Tenn. - August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day, and the city of Jackson hosts this event to spread awareness.

It is especially focusing on awareness of overdoses in the elderly community.

“I think a lot of times we think, ‘Oh it doesn’t affect my grandparents’, ‘It doesn’t affect my aunt’, you know… we don’t worry about that population, because the majority of overdose and substance abuse we see is in the 20’s and 30’s year range, up to 40’s but there are statistics that show Americans over 65 that has increased eight times since 2000.”

Mental health and substance abuse lifeline peer coordinator Sarah Mays reports since 2000, there has been a huge jump in overdoses in people aged 65 and older.

The percentage has gone from 2.2 to 8.8 in 100,000 people.

Mays reports that in 2021, 129 people aged 65 and older suffered fatal overdoses in southwest Tennessee.

923 suffered nonfatal overdoses and were able to be saved.

“A lot of times we don’t talk about why, you know, there’s memory loss issues that come up, there’s prescription issues, and then prescription law changes about how often you get your pain medicine, and they’re struggling with that, and they need it, they may seek other options for pain medicine.”

Mays reports it is important to be aware of overdoses and be prepared.

There are four regional overdose prevention specialists in the area that can set you up with overdose training and if you or a loved one are at high risk, receive a Narcan kit.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, you can call Mays at 731-694-2544.

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