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Demonstration planned in Louisville on Aug. 31 for FED UP! International Overdose Awareness Day

Advocates in concert with International Overdose Awareness Day will demonstrate for a more forceful federal response to the opioid addiction epidemic on Aug. 31 in Louisville.

The rally will take place at Jefferson Park (corner of 6th and Jefferson) from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and is organized by Emily Walden with Stoppnow (Stop the Organized pill pushers now). It will be one of dozens that are scheduled to occur simultaneously in cities and towns across the United States coordinated by FED UP!, a coalition of organizations from across the country representing hundreds of thousands of families and individuals affected by the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths.

The Louisville rally will have more than 20 resource tables, DEA, Treatment Centers, and Community Groups. Speakers will begin at 11:45 a.m., and include Attorney General Andy Beshear, Secretary John Tilley, President David James, Jay Davidson The Healing Place, Dr. Danesh Mazloomdoost, Corey Councill, Elder Lasserre Bradley Jr. and Emily Walden.

Demonstrators are calling on Congress to expand access to opioid addiction treatment. Current treatment funding is woefully inadequate, and previously enacted legislation remains underfunded.

Legislation passed months ago in the House is now languishing in the Senate. A bare minimum of $60 billion in federal funding during the next 10 years will be required to enable local communities to provide low threshold access to outpatient treatment.

Municipalities, states, Native American tribes, hospitals, and unions across America have filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors for their roles in creating this crisis. More than 1,000 of these lawsuits have been consolidated into a multi-district case being heard in federal court in Cleveland. These lawsuits have been filed because drug companies falsely promoted opioids as safe and effective for daily long-term use.

As prescriptions soared, millions of Americans became addicted and hundreds of thousands died from overdoses. The opioid manufacturers and distributors will try to settle these cases for a fraction of what it will cost to abate the epidemic. The campaign to hold the opioid manufacturers responsible for their part in the epidemic they created is called #BILLIONSNOTMILLIONS (visit www.hearmyroar.org).

The United States is in the midst of the worst drug addiction epidemic in its history. The epidemic began in the 1990s with the launch of a multi-faceted marketing campaign that encouraged aggressive opioid prescribing. The risk of opioid addiction was downplayed, and benefits of long-term use were exaggerated. Opioids were falsely promoted as an effective treatment for chronic pain with little risk of addiction.

Advocates will also be protesting the Food and Drug Administration’s continued approval of new opioid medications and its failure to remove ultra-high dose opioids from the market. Last year, the influential National Academy of Sciences issued a report calling on FDA to overhaul its opioid policies to recognize the societal impact of these drugs. Demonstrators want FDA to immediately implement the report’s recommendations.

From Overdose Awareness Day

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