Vigil planned in Kelowna for International Overdose Awareness Day | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vigil planned in Kelowna for International Overdose Awareness Day

FILE PHOTO - International Overdose Awareness Day in Kamloops, Aug. 31, 2016.
August 23, 2021 - 6:31 PM

A network of families aiming to change illicit drug use policies will be hosting a Kelowna vigil next week to remember those lost to the overdose crisis.

The event will be held Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. in Kerry Park on International Overdose Awareness Day.

"This event is open to the public and because it is in the public's interest, it is exempt from the current Public Health Order. We will be encouraging all those that attend to follow COVID protocols to the best of their ability," according to a press release issued by Moms Stop the Harm.

Kelowna city councillor Loyal Woodridge will open the event with a speech, and Helen Jennens will be speaking on behalf of Moms Stop The Harm about its new initiative The Stronger Together Project.

Living Positive Resource Centre will be doing naloxone training and UBC Okanagan representatives will be demonstrating a drug testing machine. There will be live music along with a "share their name" time slot where residents who have lost a loved one to drug harms can speak and share their name, according to Moms Stop the Harm.

A Moms Stop the Harm anti-stigma video will also be shown before a walk to The Sails for a candlelit vigil.

In 2021, more people died of drug overdose in B.C. within the first five months of the year than in any other year recorded during that same period.

The B.C. Coroner's Service reported 851 deaths between January and May, which surpasses the previous high of 704 deaths reported for those months in 2017 by almost 21%.

READ MORE: Record set for illicit drug deaths for first five months of 2021 in British Columbia

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