Illenium Will Provide Overdose Education on Tour, Starting With Naxalone Training Livestream
Eleven years ago, the dance musician Illenium survived a heroin overdose after years of struggling with an opiate addiction. He first shared the personal story with his fans in 2018 when he was six years into his sobriety. Since then, an uptick in deaths related to drug overdoses, particularly those linked to fentanyl, has inspired Illenium to amplify potentially life-saving safety practices alongside the non-profit organization End Overdose.
“I wanted to update you about something incredibly important to me and a topic that I think should be more common and accepted in all of our everyday lives,” the musician, born Nick Miller, wrote on Instagram. “As some of y’all know, my past had some dark days and I suffered from an overdose back in 2012. Today the danger of drug overdose is way higher because of the fentanyl problem. I think to battle that, everyone should be knowledgeable and prepared to help anyone who may need it.”
At 5 p.m. EST/2 p.m. PST on Wednesday, April 26, Illenium will host an Instagram Live with End Overdose to provide training on recognizing and responding to an overdose. The training will feature informational demonstrations on administering naloxone, the Food and Drug Administration-approved drug used to rapidly reverse opioid overdoses. It will also be available in person during various stops on his forthcoming tour, including San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Denver, Rothbury, Austin, Atlanta, Brooklyn, Detroit, and Bridgeview.
In March, the FDA officially approved an over-the-counter nasal spray version of naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan. According to The New York Times, the spray will be available in drug stores, grocery stores, gas stations, and even vending machines by late summer. Between October 2021 and October 2022, there were over 101,750 reported fatal overdoses, with many caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
“Today’s approval of OTC naloxone nasal spray will help improve access to naloxone, increase the number of locations where it’s available and help reduce opioid overdose deaths throughout the country,” FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf said at the time. “We encourage the manufacturer to make accessibility to the product a priority by making it available as soon as possible and at an affordable price.”
In a statement to Billboard, Illenium added: “I’s important for everyone, regardless of whether they use these drugs or not, to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose and know how to provide aid if needed. This issue is very personal to me as a recovering addict and someone who has overdosed in the past. Providing education and free naloxone to those who need it will save lives.”
In the open letter he penned to fans in 2018, the musician clarified that while he didn’t purport to have discovered the end-all-be-all cure for addiction, he hoped that sharing his own story would be able to inspire others.
“Six years ago I overdosed on heroin. I struggled with opiate addiction from a young age. I was trapped in it, had no passion, no direction, and truly hated myself. It was such a dark time for me and my family because when it gets bad enough, hope begins to dim and there’s no escaping reality,” he wrote. “I’m not telling you to preach or say how I found some magical cure or that everyone needs to live like I do. I’m the biggest advocate for people living their own lives and spreading their own love in their own ways.”
He added: “I’m just sharing my story and relating because music saved my life too. With everything that has been going on with my career, I always keep reminding myself of that. My main goal with music is to try and help people overcome their struggles and also enjoy the moment.”
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