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India Perez-Urbano's Fundraiser:

Wellness Center for People Who Use Drugs in Rockland County

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BENEFITING:

India Perez-Urbano

THE STORY:

Last year, Rockland County lost 40 lives to overdose, a 11-fold increase since 2006. Opioid-related emergency room admissions more than doubled between 2010-2014 in Rockland County. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. Heroin and prescription opioid abuse is a growing issue locally and nationally; and in the past decade, heroin use has more than doubled among 18 to 25 year olds. This rise in use has been largely attributed to the heightened misuse—and over-prescription—of prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycontin. Rockland County has fallen victim to this growing opioid crisis, and there is a need for action and mobilization. Rockland Connects engages people who actively use drugs to prevent HIV, hepatitis C and fatal overdose. In addition, we bridge individuals to recovery and services. We leverage a harm reduction model to save lives, prolong health, empower individuals and battle stigma. In 2018, Rockland Connects will open a Wellness Center: a drop-in center for people who use drugs to access case management, peer support, syringe exchange services, STD testing, overdose reversal training, and linkage to substance abuse treatment. Rockland Connects was founded by India Perez-Urbano, a 23 year-old Rockland County resident and Harvard University graduate who has dedicated her life's work to advocating for people who live with addiction. Year after year, she would hear of her fellow Nyack High School classmates, tragically passing away of drug overdose. During her senior year in college, she decided to return to her hometown upon graduation and do something about it. She received the 2016 Public Service Post-Graduate Fellowship from the Harvard University Phillip's Brooks House Association to support her vision, given to only two graduating seniors from Harvard College. Rockland Connects is calling upon the community to lead this effort and contribute in anyway possible. 100% of donations will go towards the opening of Rockland Connects' Wellness Center.

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