Ipswich Lifehouse marks Overdose Awareness Day
published on 6 Sep 2021
Staff and residents at a Salvation Army Lifehouse in Ipswich marked International Overdose Awareness Day last week with a remembrance ceremony and several special activities.
The day, initiated by a Salvation Army officer in Australia in 2001, aims to work towards ending overdoses by raising awareness and remembering those who have died as a result.
Lyndon House on Fore Street is a hostel which provides a safe, supportive environment for 39 males over the age of 18. Many residents have been unable to access addiction support services before they step into our care.
Simon Walker, specialist support worker, and Leanne Perry, assistant support worker, led the activities.
Simon said the day focused on ways of reducing harm, remembering those who have been lost and celebrating life.
He said: “We had a remembrance tree in the home and a tree of life planted in the garden to symbolise hope. Staff were also on hand to talk to residents at different points throughout the day and we will collect the names put on the remembrance tree.
“The day was more of a success than we hoped. Normally people don’t want to remember but the day seemed to have the opposite effect – people wanted to get involved. Our chaplain will come and bless the tree and we will get a plaque there to make it more personal.”
Leanne said posters were put up around Lyndon House to educate users about to do in the event of an overdose while residents were also told about the drug naloxone, which can temporarily reverse the effects of an opiate overdose.
She said: “Most people here have been affected by an overdose in one way or another so we felt it was important to organise the events. We contacted local agencies who have provided sharps bins and antiseptic wipes. Residents sometimes feel closer to each other so it's about minimising and reducing the risk of harm.”
Lee Bell, Territorial Addiction Services Officer, praised the efforts at Lyndon House, and said more needs to be done across the country.
He added: “Without comprehensive investment, particularly for young people, we will continue to see the cyclical nature of addiction that often runs within families and communities.
“Prevention is key to ensuring the children in our services today don’t become the adults in our services tomorrow."
Lyndon House will also be holding events to mark World Mental Health Awareness Day and World Homeless Day which are both on 10 October.