By: Follow South Jersey Staff
SEWELL, N.J. — The 5th Annual Candlelight Vigil to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day will be held on Thursday, August 27, at James G. Atkinson Park beginning at dusk.
The event, sponsored by the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Gloucester County Addictions Task Force, aims to raise awareness of opioid overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. The day also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends and remembers those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. To date, the vigil has memorialized over 600 individuals.
“Addiction touches almost every family in some way, shape or form and by lifting the stigma of shame we hope to reach people and help our community,” Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger said.
Freeholder Jim Jefferson, liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services, said that the county aims to help those with coping with addiction as well as those close to them.
“Gloucester County has resources to help those struggling. Together we can accomplish more to help those struggling and those who have lost family and friends realize they are never alone,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson added that the Gloucester County Addiction Task Force is comprised of community members that have been adversely impacted by addictions, or are working professionals in the field.
The Addition Task Force holds monthly NARCAN trainings, provides individuals resources for treatment through various programs, and assists in housing, educational and vocational training for those in recovery.
Residents who have a family member or friend that they would like to commemorate in this ceremony can send the family member’s name and photograph to Robert Bamford at email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (856) 384-6929.
The vigil will begin at dusk and will be held rain or shine at James Atkinson Park; 138 Bethel Mill Rd. Sewell, NJ 08080. Attendees must wear a mask and adhere to social distancing guidelines as set by the CDC.
Seating is limited. Bringing your own chair or blanket is recommended. There will be resource tables that will open at 6:00 P.M.
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