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Michael K. Williams, hundreds of others remembered on Overdose Awareness Day in the Bronx

Bronx residents speaking out for National Overdose Awareness Day
Bronx residents speaking out for National Overdose Awareness Day 01:58

NEW YORK - The Bronx has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths, according to city data, and residents are using their voices for National Overdose Awareness Day.

"I could see Michael winking at us. I could see him understanding and appreciating that we are doing this work," said Dominic Dupont.

Dupont continues to raise his voice and bring awareness to his late uncle and renowned actor Michael K. Williams' fentanyl overdose.

"It was such a painful moment for me to find him in his apartment," said Dupont.

The 54-year-old Emmy nominated actor died in September 2021 and was known for his role in HBO's "The Wire." His story and the thousands of others aren't being left untold this Thursday, as officials and the community gathered on the rooftop at Samaritan Daytop Village for the proclamation of National Overdose Awareness Day.

"Every day somewhere in New York City, eight people die of an overdose, and the highest number is right here in the Bronx," said Mitchell Netburn, the President and CEO of Samaritan Daytop Village.

New York City data shows Bronx residents had the highest rate of overdose deaths in 2021, with neighborhoods like Hunts Point, Mott Haven, Crotona and Tremont experiencing the highest numbers city wide. 

Advocates say in order to create change in communities like Mott Haven, there needs to be more prevention, awareness and harm reduction initiatives.

Recovery programs at Samaritan Daytop Village is an example of the first step drug users are taking to change their lives.

Experts believe acknowledging the problem will help break the stigma.

"We're acknowledging that people can have support, that we can look at the challenges that people face via trauma and do what we need to do to help them get through this," said Dupont.

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