My message is simple this month and it’s ‘thank you’.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to donate folded origami cranes for our 1,000 Cranes Project, which we launched on Friday, ahead of International Overdose Awareness Day on Saturday, 31 August.
We set out with the stretch goal of trying to receive 1,000 cranes, and the response has been utterly overwhelming with more than 4,100 cranes donated in just over seven weeks.
They are small and large, colourful and elegant, contemporary and traditional and they are all beautiful.
The concept of the cranes was to provide us with a beautiful and gentle way to talk about drug overdose, because we need to talk about it.
The latest National Overdose Report released this week by the Pennington Institute confirms that the messages remains the same – that overdose is not just a young person’s problem and if you’re taking prescription medication you need to be overdose aware.
Accidental overdoses are increasing in Tasmania, and pharmaceutical medications continue to be a leading contributor.
This includes opioid pharmaceutical medications for pain relief like oxycodone, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, pethidine and tramadol. It’s also benzodiazepine medication to manage anxiety, stress or sleep like diazepam and temazepam. In many cases it’s a combination of these drugs, and drinking alcohol only increases the risks.
Tasmanians use drugs, and the reasons for their use are varied, personal and complex and we must find ways to make Tasmanians feel comfortable to talk about their drug use.
If we don’t, then nothing will change and people won’t reach out for help or to talk about any problems they may be having – and we will continue losing them.
So thank you to everyone who contributed a crane, whether it be one or nearly 800 – every crane counts and will help us to raise awareness of drug overdose, and help to reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths. They will also be a beautiful tribute to all Tasmanians lost.
Chief Executive Officer