Memorial, Celebration for Overdose Victims in Civic Center Plaza

People coping with the loss of loved ones to drug overdoses and their supporters will gather for a memorial and celebration at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza on Sunday, event organizers said.

The event will feature space to play music and read or share about someone lost to drug overdoses. Anyone who has something to share has been invited too.

The gathering will be held at Civic Center Plaza at about 5:30 p.m. The location was chosen because of an outbreak of drug overdoses there, according to organizers.

The event is being organized by the Oakland-based Drug Overdose Prevention and Education Project. There will also a needle exchange and training in administration of naxalone, a drug that can reverse the effects of heroin overdoses.

The DOPE Project recently partnered with San Francisco police to have officers carry the drug in March, and in June, San Francisco police used it to save a man’s life, police said Thursday.

The officer found a man suffering from an overdose rolling around on the street near the corner of 16th and Capp streets just before 6 p.m. on June 14.

The officer recognized the symptoms and gave the man a naxalone dose in each nostril. The man became more responsive and was taken to a hospital for treatment, police said.

It was the first time the officer had used the kit, police said.

“I have been a supporter of placing Naxalone Kits in SFPD vehicles since the Department of Public Health approached me with their proposal,” San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said in a statement. “One life lost to addiction is one life too many.”

Improvements to police and medical responder training has already brought overdose deaths in the city down from 120 to about 10 per year, according to city officials.

Scott Morris, Bay City News

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