Groups focus on prevention during International Overdose Awareness Day

Updated: Aug. 31, 2017 at 8:48 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO/AP) - Ohio's heroin epidemic is in the spotlight today as the world stops to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day.

The state of Ohio says a record 4,050 people died of drug overdoses in the state last year, driven in large part by the emergence of stronger drugs like the synthetic painkiller fentanyl.

The data released Wednesday mean on average, 11 Ohioans are dying each day by overdosing on pain pills, heroin, fentanyl or other drugs. Overdose deaths rose 33 percent over the 3,050 deaths in 2015.

In Akron, the group OhioCAN (Change Addiction Now) will be hosting a candlelight vigil. Informational tables and speakers will be on hand to help the public learn about resources and ways to recognize an overdose. The Lights of Change event starts at 6 p.m. at Lock 3 in the downtown area.

In Cleveland, Amistad Chapel United Church of Christ is hosting a Naloxone Saves church service. Naloxone is the drug used to reverse the effects of an overdose. The church says volunteers from the group Project Dawn will be there to teach people how to spot the signs on an overdose and how to administer Naloxone. A small quantity of the drug and overdose survival kits will be handed out to guests. The event starts at 7 p.m.

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