Annual Candlelight Vigil To Be Held To Shed Stigma Surrounding Substance Abuse

By: Follow South Jersey Staff

SEWELL, N.J. — The 7th Annual Gloucester County Candlelight Vigil will be held on Tuesday, August 30, in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day.

Hosted by the Gloucester County Board of Commissioners and the Gloucester County Addictions Task Force, this event aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of 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 due to drug overdose.

“We are gathering to celebrate those in recovery and honor those who have lost their lives to addiction,” Board of Commissioners Director Frank J. DiMarco said in a press release from the county. “Substance abuse is often misunderstood or overlooked. By bringing awareness to the topic, we hope to bring more people to the resources to get help.”

Thousands of people die each year from substance abuse. These individuals come from all walks of life, and Gloucester County is not untouched by this tragedy. We will remember those who have lost their lives as we bring some sense of community to their families and friends in a supportive, stigma-free environment.

“You do not need to be a professional to help. Substance abuse is not always visible, but with understanding and empath, we can help individuals affected,” Commissioner Jim Jefferson, liaison to the Division of Human and Disability Services, said.

Resource tables will be available beginning at 7:00 p.m. and the vigil will begin at dusk and will be held rain or shine at James Atkinson Park, 138 Bethel Mill Rd. in Sewell.

Seating is limited. Bringing your chair or blanket is recommended. Please note CDC guidelines regarding masks and social distancing will be followed.

County residents who has a family member or friend that they would like to commemorate in this ceremony, they can send the name and photograph of the family member to: Bob Munson at Email:

For more information, please visit or call (856) 384-6929.

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