Dominion Diagnostics employees observe International Overdose Awareness Day

Today, Rhode Island-based medical laboratory Dominion Diagnostics joined thousands of other organizations and individuals across the globe to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day during an event held for its employees. The day itself demands urgent action and is aimed to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.

"Today does not serve as a celebration, but as a day of remembrance," said Mary P. Hauser, MA, Vice President of Addiction Services and New Market Development. "In 2016, we lost approximately 66,000 people and in 2017, there were over 72,000 deaths." Hauser further shared that if you do the math, roughly two hundred people per day unintentionally lost their lives, meaning 12 more people would be gone to an overdose by the end of Dominion's hour and a half long event.

The statistic was chilling. Hauser says the potency level of drugs today plays into the equation and put emphasis on the deadliness of concoctions that are made in chemistry labs and ultimately end up on the street. She shared other stories and important facts with many of Dominion's employees, including key actions taking place in Rhode Island and other nearby states like providing access to naloxone (also known as Narcan®) used to counter the effects of opioid overdose and save lives. She acknowledged the importance of Dominion's objective data and clinical insight in allowing treatment providers to help their patients continue the path to recovery and mitigate relapse and potential overdose.

"Those of us in the field that have worked as clinicians never know what message might resonate with a patient that day," Hauser shared. "This is a huge health problem that Dominion plays a key role in. If we can provide an accurate test to one of the clinicians treating someone and they can intervene quickly enough to tell that patient that he or she is taking a combination of drugs that may be lethal – that may just turn that person around."

Venessa Koenig, a long-time Dominion Diagnostics employee, initiated the idea to honor lives lost and saved with today's Overdose Awareness Day event. She shared with Dominion organizers, "it just serves as an important reminder of why we do what we do."

Dominion Diagnostics' drug testing and medication monitoring services span the United States. The company's main goal is to provide accurate and clinically relevant monitoring data that offers insight into treatment related prescription adherence and self-reported drug misuse. 

"We have to do something about this, and we are," Hauser told employees. "Hopefully over the next few years we'll keep more shoes filled and there are less candles lit on a night like tonight." She urged Dominion's employees to continue their good work and recognize that they are touching patient lives every day.

For more information on International Overdose Awareness Day, visit