PRINTER'S NO. 988
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
799
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY KANE, FONTANA, ROBINSON, SANTARSIERO, PHILLIPS-
HILL, STEFANO, YUDICHAK, STREET, COSTA, COMITTA AND SCHWANK,
JULY 7, 2021
REFERRED TO RULES AND EXECUTIVE NOMINATIONS, JULY 7, 2021
AN ACT
Designating August 31 of each year as Overdose Awareness Day.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Overdose
Awareness Day Act.
Section 2. Findings.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) Drug addiction is a chronic disease, characterized
by compulsive or difficult to control drug use despite
harmful consequences.
(2) Drug addiction is seen by both the Centers for
Disease Control and the World Health Organization as a fast-
growing epidemic that can all too easily lead to overdose and
death.
(3) In 2019, 70,630 individuals died from drug overdoses
in the United States according to the Centers for Disease
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Control and Prevention.
(4) In this Commonwealth alone, 4,458 individuals died
from drug overdoses in 2019 according to the Pennsylvania
Department of Health.
(5) For every drug overdose that results in death, there
are many more nonfatal overdoses, each taking an emotional
and economic toll on the individual, their family and the
community at large.
(6) Drug addiction can fuel feelings of shame, guilt,
embarrassment, depression and hopelessness, causing
individuals to resist seeking treatment and support.
(7) Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on
August 31 of each year that aims to raise awareness of drug
overdoses, reduces the stigma of a drug-related death and
acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends
remembering those who have died or have had a permanent
injury as a result of a drug overdose.
(8) To further the goals of Overdose Awareness Day, the
General Assembly requests the Governor order flags throughout
this Commonwealth be flown at half staff for the day's
duration.
(9) Overdose Awareness Day sends a strong message to
former or current substance users that they are valued and
that overdose death is preventable.
Section 3. Designation.
August 31 of each year shall be designated as Overdose
Awareness Day to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the
stigma of a drug-related death.
Section 4. Flags.
On August 31 of each year, the Governor may order flags be
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flown at half staff and shall issue a proclamation calling upon
public officials and the residents of this Commonwealth to
observe Overdose Awareness Day with appropriate activities and
programs.
Section 5. Effective date.
This act shall take effect immediately.
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