Each year local communities around the world come together on August 31st to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) and remember those who have died or suffered permanent damage due to drug overdose.
The event seeks to create better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use.
The public is invited to participate in a local event on August 31st, from 7 – 9 pm at the Glades Park Pavilion at 10 Spruce Lane, Oakland. The Stories of Hope & Candlelight Vigil is designed to raise awareness that overdose affects all walks of life and it is preventable.
“A candlelight vigil is held at the very end of the evening,” said Sadie Liller, Prevention Coordinator at the Garrett County Health Department, and organizer for the event. “The vigil is always a moving part of the event and helps families honor a loved one they have lost, or one who is still struggling with addiction. Standing together in remembrance spreads the message that more needs to be done to end overdose in our community.”
The Stories of Hope will begin at 7:00 p.m. with several community members telling their stories. Resource tables will be available with information about prevention, treatment, recovery, support groups, etc.
Participants are asked to wear purple to show support to all who have lost a loved one.
“Overdose can affect anybody – our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends,” Liller said. “Nobody should ever have to go through the pain of losing a loved one because of overdose.”
Masks are encouraged for unvaccinated people and for anyone who prefers a higher level of protection.
International Overdose Awareness Day is organized by Penington Institute, an Australian not-for-profit organization. Locally, the event is partially funded by the Maryland Department of Health and SAMHSA. For more information visit the AddictionHappens.org Facebook page or call Sadie Liller at the Health Department at 301-334-7730 or 301-895-3111.