Kamloops organizations to host memorial to lives lost to the opioid crisis | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops organizations to host memorial to lives lost to the opioid crisis

The memorial is dedicated to the people who have died due to overdose in Kamloops in the last five years.
April 13, 2021 - 8:00 PM

A memorial and public art installation in Kamloops to be unveiled tomorrow hopes to bring awareness to the local victims to the opioid crisis over the last five years.

There will be 250 pairs of shoes displayed together at ‘The Labyrinth’ between Riverside Park and Riverside Park — a pair of shoes for each person that has died in Kamloops since the province declared the opioid crisis a state of emergency on April 14, 2016. 

Multiple organizations are coming together to put on the event, including United Way, Addiction Matters Kamloops, Moms Stop the Harm and The Loop.

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“It’s going to be a very dramatic image that will strike people in their hearts, whether you’ve been involved in the crisis, had a family member that has died or neither. It can be very gut wrenching to see,” Glenn Hilke with The Loop said.

The installation will be at the park tomorrow, April 14 between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There will be navigators there to move walkers along and avoid crowding the area, plus masks and hand sanitizer available, so the event can go on without compromising public health orders.

Hilke said the installation is put on largely through efforts by Moms Stop the Harm. The organization wants to take apart the stigma that burdens drug users.

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“We know the challenges of stigma are ongoing because there are still stereotypes around drug use and addiction, like the troubling use of words like ‘junkies’ and ‘crackheads.’ We’re doing everything we can to change the language around that,” Hilke said.

There will be signage at the trail on either side to make walkers aware of the memorial ahead.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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