Contact: Jessica A. Smith,
Assistant Executive Director
(512) 334-5504 
[email protected]

For Immediate Release


AUSTIN, TX – NOVEMBEr 2017 – Funeral professionals have  been among the first to witness the devastating impact the opioid epidemic has had on the families of more than 35,000 opioid overdose victims each year in the United States and Canada. In response, The International Order of the Golden Rule (OGR), has released a new booklet entitled “Opioid Epidemic: How Communities Can Respond”, a follow-up to “Opioid Epidemic: How Funeral Directors Can Respond”, which was distributed to more than 20,000 funeral professionals. The new booklet was written to educate members of funeral homes’ communities about the realities of addiction, to encourage them to take action when able, and to provide comfort to those who have been affected.

The 44-page booklet’s contents include: how opioid addiction differs from other addictions; potential risks opioid users pose to others; the complicated grief that survivors often experience after losing loved ones to overdoses; recommendations for finding grief support; suggestions for planning a funeral or memorial service; and ideas for getting involved in community efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

OGR President Charles Castiglia, Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home in Hamburg, NY said, “This booklet was designed as a resource to be distributed by funeral professionals to those in their communities.” In a panel discussion he moderated at the 2017 NFDA International Convention & Expo,  Castiglia shared his experiences serving families who lost loved ones to drug overdoses and the steps he and his staff have taken to educate their community about ways they can respond to this growing crisis.

Copies of “Opioid Crisis: How Communities Can Respond” are available through OGR at A Kindle version is also available through Amazon.

About OGR
Founded in 1928, OGR is affiliated with independent funeral homes that share common goals of exemplary service, uncompromising care and compassion to families in their time of need. For more information, visit