Second annual Overdose Awareness Day set to go at Riverside Park | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Second annual Overdose Awareness Day set to go at Riverside Park

FILE PHOTO - International Overdose Awareness Day Kamloops candlelight vigil participants, Aug. 31, 2016.
August 30, 2017 - 5:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Reducing stigma and breaking down barriers for people dealing with drug addiction are the goals of International Overdose Awareness Day in Kamloops tomorrow.

Organizer Sherry Robinson says from noon until 9 p.m. tomorrow, Aug. 31, there will be several interactive activities as well as live performers at Riverside Park near the band shell. Among the events on tap are talking circles with counselors and elders, the creation of a memorial flag, and naloxone training. The day will also feature a march through the streets of downtown Kamloops.

"We're probably getting organized around 4 p.m.," she says. "Then we'll do a short walk around downtown just to promote in a positive way respect and dignity and reduce the stigma of some of the challenges that are faced by people with either a mental health condition or a substance abuse problem."

Robinson says this years event will be much larger than the first of its kind in 2016, and she hopes it will lead Kamloops residents to be curious and come down to the park to ask questions and get educated.

"One of the biggest statistics coming out right now is that a majority of the fatal overdoses are happening in peoples homes," she says. "It's not happening out in the public and we have family members coming home to find their loved ones deceased."

Remembrance of those who have lost their lives to overdoses is another key aspect of the event and Robinson is no stranger to the pain that comes from that kind of tragedy. Her son Tyler died from an overdose when he was just 23 years old.

"One death typically effects 164 people," she says. "We've got grandparents raising grandchildren, we've got children going back to school who have lost their parent, and we've got friends who have lost loved ones. I've had some young people tell me they've lost 15 of their friends to this opioid crisis."

This years event is funded by Addiction Matters Kamloops.

For more on the opioid crisis in B.C., go here.

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