For Dana Gates, looking at photos of loved ones brings back happy memories that she’ll always cherish.
“They are people that very much affected my life as all of these pictures represent,” Gates said.
But it’s hard for her to not get emotional when remembering these loved one who she lost to overdoses. Gates shares these photos to let the public know they’re not just drug addicts, but rather parents, children, siblings and friends.
What You Need To Know
- Tuesday is International Overdose Awareness Day
- Members of VOCAL-NY and other advocates spent the day calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a package of overdose prevention bills currently sitting on her desk
- Those who lost loved ones to an overdose shared photos of them
“It’s a generational proble — hiding things under the carpet and not addressing them,” Gates said. “We’re losing too many lives because of it.”
These pictures were just some of the 300 photos placed outside the State Capitol on International Overdose Awareness Day.
Members of VOCAL-NY and other advocates spent the day calling on Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a package of overdose prevention bills currently sitting on her desk, including measures to decriminalize syringes and offer medication assisted treatment in jails.
“It’s about a consciousness that people are losing their lives at such a rate that it has touched everybody,” said Ash Radliff, a community organizer with VOCAL-NY.
The group spent earlier this year pushing for the state Legislature to pass these bills. If signed, Radliff said these harm reduction methods can make a big difference.
“All those gaps that we need to fill in, that’s where we’re losing all the people,” Radliff said.
The goal, they say, is to reduce the stigma and shame so individuals can get the assistance they need. Gates, who has been clean since March, said her purpose now is to spread as much awareness as possible.
“If we can save one more life through this, if not prevent one more death, I think we’re doing something good here,” Gates said.