ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Wednesday, August 31 marks International Overdose Awareness Day, designed to not only increase public knowledge about overdoses and addiction in general but also to remember those who have died.

Rallies have been taking place across the world Wednesday, including locally in Rochester. Organizers are calling on lawmakers to pass necessary laws to create policies to decriminalize drug use and develop safe consumption sites.

Another goal for IODAD is to help end the stigma about overdoses and drug use, altogether, as well as provide an opportunity for people to publically mourn loved ones in a safe environment, free of guilt or shame.

Last month, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announced the launch of a 24-hour opioid hotline, along with expanding access to naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an overdose and often save a life.

Rochester Police Lt. Greg Bello also said that this year-to-date, Monroe County has seen 93 fatal overdoses; last year at this point in the year there were 91 fatalities. While he says they often see the typical drugs during these calls, there are other kinds.

“Drug overdoses is not just the heroin and fentanyl. I mean we’re seeing alcohol overdoses, I mean intoxication to the point that somebody’s in danger from that, prescription pills, all of that combined. So really we want to get that awareness out there,” explains RPD Lt. Greg Bello.

There are typically several agencies responding to emergency calls when someone is experiencing an overdose, primarily ambulances. Leaders with Brighton Volunteer Ambulance offer some insight into just how vast overdoses can be in a community.

Second person: Dennis Mietz, President | Brighton Volunteer Ambulance, Inc.

“It’s everyone because it’s so available and widely available and overprescribed previously that it just doesn’t matter. It breaks our borders, all demographics, all socioeconomic statuses,” says Joshua Jording, Paramedic with Brighton Volunteer Ambulance.

“It’s kind of myopic when people think this is [just] a socioeconomic status, you know certain income status-person is a victim of this. It really goes across the whole social-economic spectrum,” adds BVA President, Dennis Mietz.

Through that new county effort, IMPACT, there are 50 cabinets containing 12 doses of Narcan placed strategically throughout the city. Lt. Bello noting a key component of the response when dealing with an overdose often comes from a neighbor who may be carrying naloxone.