Empty Shoes Line Greene & Scott Courthouse Lawns In Remembrance of International Overdose Awareness Day

By Benjamin Cox on September 1, 2023 at 4:54am

August 31st is National Overdose Awareness Day across the country. One local group is raising awareness with a stark demonstration at two local courthouses.

The State of Illinois reported over 3,700 overdose deaths from drugs and/or alcohol in 2021 according to statistics at the Illinois Department of Public Health. Opioids, Cocaine, and Alcohol were the three most common overdose types.

The Greene County Health Department’s Greene & Scott County Recovery Council project is recognizing the day by making a bold statement to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of substance-related deaths in order to create change that will hopefully reduce the harms associated with substance use and abuse.

Residents who visited the square in Winchester yesterday morning or the Greene County Courthouse yesterday afternoon were met with empty shoes, symbolizing the loss both communities have faced as a result of overdose, according to Recovery Coordinator Amanda Morrow. Morrow hopes the visual will raise awareness about the availability of the life-saving drug Naloxone available in Carrollton, Winchester, and Roodhouse.

According to the CDC, overdose deaths became the leading cause for persons aged 18-49. According to Greene County Community Health Manager Ron Sprong, since the Recovery Council began its work last year, the number of overdose deaths in Greene and Scott counties has seen a significant drop.

The council’s monthly meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month at 3 PM.  Meetings are available online and in-person at Greene County Health Department’s North Greene office in Roodhouse, located at 205 South Morse Street (Dr. Voigt’s Former Office). To learn more about recognizing the signs and symptoms of overdose or get connected to a wellness program, residents can connect with the Greene County Community Health Team at 217-942-6961, option 6.