Grand Junction, Colo.,
14:03 PM

St. Mary's Medical Center observes overdose awareness day

Teams install memorial flag display in Lincoln Park


St. Mary’s Medical Center, in partnership with Mesa County Opioid Response Group (MCORG), will again build a memorial flag display at Lincoln Park to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day on Thursday, Aug. 31. 

The awareness day is a global recognition aimed at raising awareness of one of the world’s most urgent public health crises and reducing the stigma of a drug-related death. 

Community members are encouraged to visit the 1,779 flags displayed at Lincoln Park in remembrance of the Colorado lives lost to drug overdose in 2022. Among the purple flags, 32 white flags will be specifically dedicated to those who have died in Mesa County. Members of MCORG will attend to provide resources that can help individuals and families dealing with drug dependence. 

Across the country, the predicted number of overdose deaths rose 0.5% in 2022 from 109,179 to 109,680. Colorado overdose deaths decreased by 5% in 2022 with 65% of all overdoses being influenced by an opioid (52% influenced by fentanyl). 

“Overdose numbers in Colorado decreased this past year, but not significantly so. The numbers remain at all time highs. International Overdose Awareness Day is an opportunity for us as a community to remember the individuals lost to substance use disorders and to discuss how we as a community will work to decrease stigma, increase support and access for treatment, prevent these situations from occurring to another loved one, and celebrate recovery and the work that goes with it.” said Ryan Jackman, MD, Medical Director, St. Mary’s Integrated Addiction Medicine Clinic. 

Since its opening in 2019, St. Mary’s Integrated Addiction Medicine has been working to combat drug addiction. The clinic provides individuals with outpatient treatment options for substance use disorders, including medication-assisted treatment, NARCAN, management of co-occurring mental health conditions, along with individual and group therapy. 

The St. Mary’s Integrated Addiction Medicine clinic partners with the Colorado Health Network and Colorado Health Institute to improve our community’s access to opioid use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery. The clinic also works closely with regional partners across the Western Slope including MCORG, WeCo2Operate, Women’s Recovery Center, the Department of Human Services, and Probation and Parole to ensure that individuals receive coordinated care and services. 

For those seeking help with substance use, St. Mary’s Integrated Addiction Medicine can be reached at 970-298-3801, or by visiting People can also call the national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).