Those who have lost their lives to overdose or have experienced a permanent injury related to drug use are being remembered on August 31.
It’s International Overdose Awareness Day and several area groups are raising awareness.
The day provides an opportunity for people to publicly mourn in a safe space, inform communities about the issue of fatal and non-fatal overdoses and provide supportive messages to those with lived and living experience that they are valued.
The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit reports a significant increase in opioid-related deaths over the past three years in our region.
There were 19 opioid-related deaths in 2019, followed by 50 in 2020 and 47 last year.
The Health Unit also says there were 13 confirmed and probable opioid-related deaths in the first quarter of this year.
“International Overdose Awareness Day is important as it brings light to what is often an ignored and or forgotten issue,” says Lynn Perreault, Program Manager at West Nipissing General Hospital’s Alliance Centre.
“Celebrating this day is a powerful way to stand together to remember people who have lost their lives to overdose and support their surviving loved ones.”
Memorial plaques are being placed in West Nipissing, off King Street and in Parry Sound, at the Mary St. Centre.
A banner to recognize IOAD has been hung outside the parking garage at the Northgate Mall in North Bay.
Gatherings of hope are being held Wednesday in all three communities.
To learn more about the online and in-person week of events, visit www.myhealthunit.ca/IOAD.