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Kamloops vigil held for those lost to overdoses

International Overdose Awareness Day Kamloops candle vigil participants, Aug. 31, 2016.
September 01, 2016 - 2:32 PM

KAMLOOPS - Families, friends and community members gathered for a candlelight vigil last night in honour of those in Kamloops who are struggling with addiction or have passed due to overdoses.

The vigil was part of yesterday’s, Aug. 31, International Overdose Awareness Day events.

Organizer Missy McKay says it was a chance to gather in memory of those who’ve been lost or are struggling due to addictions.

“I just thought it would be really important to gather everyone here who’s gone through the same struggles, losing people or is afraid to lose someone,” she says.

For her it was Tyler Robinson, who died of an overdose in January. Tyler’s mom, Sherry Robinson, was also at the vigil, along with the families of at least three others who’ve died due to overdose.

McKay says there’s a lot of stigma in the general public about addiction, but there’s also support.

“There’s a lot of support from places like ASK Wellness, the mission, those kind of places supporting addicts,” she says. “It really could be anybody, it could happen to your kid or your spouse or your parents.”

Another attendee, Ali Bachand, says she’s lost friends to overdoses and struggled with addictions herself. She’s been sober for more than three years now, but believes that as someone who’s gone through addiction, it’s important to attend events like the candlelight vigil.

“I feel a personal responsibility to be here for the people that can’t,” she says “I think being present at these events is what is spreading awareness and breaking the stigma.”

Around 20 people attended the vigil, including city councillor Donovan Cavers.

Yesterday the Interior Health Authority warned people using drugs about a series of overdoses, inlcuding one fatality, over the past 48 hours connected with a "sparkly white powder" that may be sold as cocaine.


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