In an effort to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of the nationwide problem surrounding opioid overdoses, Gov. Ned Lamont named Aug. 31 as Overdose Awareness Day in Connecticut.

Lamont, in announcement made early Monday morning, said addiction “is an illness that should be treated just as any other public health emergency.”

“We need to send the message that this disorder can no longer hide in the shadows and be treated like something that shouldn’t be discussed. Resources are available for those seeking treatment, as well as for the families and loved ones who want to provide support. We need to spread this message of hope far and wide so that we can save lives or even prevent someone from going down the path of addiction altogether,” Lamont said.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said the battle against addiction has been made harder by the “severe stress” and “isolation” imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People are hurting and are overburdened, and this has contributed to a spike in overdose deaths,” Bysiewicz said. “Today, we remember all of the lives that were lost to addiction and we recommit ourselves to reducing stigma, securing the funding needed to provide treatment and prevention, and ensuring everyone has access to telehealth.”

Lamont will hold a press conference at an Overdose Awareness Day event at 10:30 a.m. Monday.

To connect with resources on opioid use disorder in Connecticut, visit www.liveloud.org or call 800-563-4086.