A bipartisan group of 39 U.S. representatives recently sent a letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to order American flags lowered to half-staff on all public buildings on Aug. 31 in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day.
International Overdose Awareness Day is held to remember people who died as a result of drug overdoses.
“Our nation has mourned the loss of lives during the coronavirus pandemic by lowering flags to half-staff when we reached the grave death toll of 100,000,” the letter said. “The lowering of our flags served as a necessary and national expression of grief. Those deaths due to COVID-19 left behind an absence in the hearts of all who knew and loved someone who passed. We are grateful for your Administration’s work in acknowledging these crises and believe that your order to lower flags at half-staff on International Overdose Awareness Day would be the appropriate expression in acknowledging the lives lost to addiction.”
In the United States, more than 700,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in the past 20 years, including more than 70,000 last year.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, overdose deaths have increased in more than 30 states, according to data from July.