BRAZIL, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Many local communities are taking part in a worldwide campaign recognizing International Overdose Awareness Day.

In Brazil, officials are using August 31 as a way to educate the community to combat overdoses and remember the lives that have been lost without the usual stigma that sometimes gets attached.

According to the DEA, there were 2,755 drug overdoses in the state of Indiana last year.

DEA Special Agent Michael Gannon said in 2021, the organization and their partners seized over 20 million fake fentanyl pills.

“When those pills were actually analyzed in our lab, it showed that 4 out every 10 had a potential fatal dosage unit,” Gannon said.

Brazil Mayor, Brian Wyndham declared Aug. 31, 2022, as Overdose Awareness Day in the city. Wyndham said this was important, as the city lost four individuals to drug-related overdoses last year.

“Last year locally we had four, and it has an ever-lasting effect on those families,” Wyndham said.

After the declaration, the Project Coordinator and resident at Inside Out, Michael Hadley, then awarded certificates of appreciation to the city and local first responders.

Event attendees later participated in a balloon release with each balloon serving as a way to remember those who lost their lives to drug overdoses.

Hadley says that these types of events can be life-changing.

“I recently was released from prison, May 6th of this year, and last year on August 31st we did International Overdose Awareness Day within the gates and we had a little walk. you know, I wrote a little speech right before and it hit me how many people I had lost, and the importance of this.”

Plans are underway to hold an event next year in Brazil for Overdose Awareness Day with hopes of reaching even more people.

The overdose reversal medication, Naloxone, is available to the community. Non-profit, Overdose Lifeline, distributes Naloxzone to communities across the state. You can find Nalox-box locations and distribution centers near you by visiting their website here.