Event in Vinton highlights International Overdose Awareness Day

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 5:24 AM EDT
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VINTON, Va. (WDBJ) - Wednesday is International Overdose Awareness Day.

People from all over the world, including right here in Southwest Virginia, are hosting events in hometown communities.

There will be an event at the Vinton War Memorial to honor, thank and inspire.

The goal of Wednesday night’s event is to honor those who have lost their lives to an overdose and to thank those working on the front lines.

You can take a photo if you have a loved one you’ve lost to addiction to put on the memorial wall during the event.

One of the organizers spoke about how much of an impact addiction has on our hometowns.

“Since COVID, the projected rate of addiction in the Roanoke Valley is about fourteen percent of the population. But for every one person in active addiction, at minimum, five people are dramatically impacted. So that takes that fourteen percent number and makes it seventy two percent. So seven out of ten people in the Roanoke Valley are directly impacted by addiction and I’d like to see how the other three of those seven and ten are not impacted. It’s kind of like dividing a room. If this half of the room is impacted and this half is not, it’s not true because this half is interacting with that half. So through secondary and tertiary means and kind of a pebble in a pond ripple effect, it does impact all of us from people driving under the influence, to workforce shortages, to our families, friends, and loved ones being in active addiction which means they’re not showing up and being engaged citizens, engaged human beings,” said Niles Comer, Roanoke Valley Collective Response Director.

27 agencies will also be there to provide information and inspire action to end the overdose crisis in our hometowns.

“Sadly, we’re all kind of burned out with just the last twenty eight months with COVID and the economy, all the other world events, the political realities in our country that we forget that addiction is at probably the worst it’s been in terms of it’s impact on society in seven or eight years and that’s a human impact, that an economic impact. Resources on some levels have dropped and so they are more scare. The folks that are doing the front line work are having to do more with less, so really want to raise awareness from not just a come participate level, but on a policy level and a state and federal level to say we’re still here and we need funding and we need partners,” said Comer.

The event is from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Vinton War Memorial.

All are welcome to attend.