Family of 'Wire' actor Michael K. Williams seeks to raise awareness of overdose danger

Marcus Solis Image
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Family of 'Wire' actor seeks to raise awareness of overdose danger
Communities around the world observed International Overdose Awareness Day Thursday. Marcus Solis has the story.

MOTT HAVEN, Bronx (WABC) -- Communities around the world observed International Overdose Awareness Day Thursday.

In New York, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that multiple landmarks and bridges across the state would be illuminated in purple and silver to recognize the day.

In New York City, the family of the late actor Michael K. Williams spent the day at an event in the Bronx in an effort to raise awareness.

Williams, best known for his portrayal of Omar Little in "The Wire," overdosed in his Brooklyn penthouse back in September 2021.

Williams' family joined others at Samaritan Daytop Village, where inside the hard work takes place: helping those struggling with the disease of addiction.

Thursday's event served as remembrance ceremony, honoring those lost to substance abuse.

But it was also designed to let people know there are treatment options available.

"Hopefully somebody watches who may be giving up hope, and a family member or friend says, 'Wait a second, there is hope,'" said Daytop President Mitchell Netburn. "And they can refer them here or to any of our peer agencies who also do great work."

Samaritan Daytop has over 60 locations, most of them in NYC's five boroughs, where an average of eight people overdose each day.

Among the other goals of International Overdose Awareness Day is to remove the stigma of substance abuse, to mourn those lost and to create discussion about overdose prevention and drug policy.

Thursday marked nearly two years to the day since Williams' fatal overdose.

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Williams was a former Daytop Village client himself.

His nephew, Dominic Dupont, is the one who found the 54-year-old actor in his Brooklyn apartment.

"I could see Michael understanding the importance of elevating this conversation about treatment and the importance of saving lives," Dupont told Eyewitness News. "And I think through his death that's part of what we're doing here today."

While the Bronx has the highest percentage of overdose deaths in New York State, this of course remains a problem well beyond the borough's borders.

Last year, nearly 110,000 people across the U.S. lost their lives due to overdoses.

"Like many New Yorkers, I've witnessed first-hand the impact addiction and substance use has on families," Governor Hochul said in statement released Thursday. "As we recognize International Overdose Awareness Day, I encourage all New Yorkers to join us in supporting overdose survivors, remembering those lost to addiction, and celebrating the health care providers who work every day to help individuals in their battle against addiction."


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