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Greater Victoria organizations mark International Overdose Awareness Day

Tuesday, Aug. 31 sees free barbecue, candlelight vigil; groups re-issue calls for action
Moms Stop the Harm have tied ribbons around lamp posts with pictures of loved ones who have died from drug overdoses. The ribbons are both a memorial and call for action. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)

Individuals, municipalities and organizations across Greater Victoria are marking International Overdose Awareness Day in their own ways as they remember the lives lost to the overdose crisis.

Moms Stop The Harm is hosting a candlelight vigil of remembrance at 6:30 p.m. The event will be live-streamed from the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific – with the feed available on the group’s Facebook page – and will feature words of remembrance and live music by musician Jill Cooper.

READ MORE: Overdose death toll tops 1,000 in first 6 months of 2021: BC Coroners Service

SOLID Outreach Society, AVI Health and Community Services and Peers Victoria Resource Society are hosting a free barbecue from 2 to 4 p.m. in the 1000-block of Pandora Avenue (across from the Save-On-Foods store).

And if you’ve been out and about in local communities, you’ve probably noticed purple ribbons around town, tied to telephone poles and streetlights. Look closer and you’ll see a photo and a story of someone who died of a drug overdose. They’ve been put up by the families of those who died, as a memorial and in hopes the display will spark curiosity from passersby.

READ MORE: Purple ribbons a visual show of opioid crisis grief, while families press for more supports

Sidney resident Niki Lucas shared her son’s story with Black Press Media this week. Dustin was 16 when he died of an accidental opioid overdose in February 2016. His picture is one of three adorned with purple ribbons in downtown Sidney.

Lucas, a member of Moms Stop The Harm, said her conscience won’t let her see Aug. 31 pass without marking International Overdose Awareness Day. “We are trying to save your children, it’s too late for ours,” she said in an interview.

You can read her story here.

READ MORE: Sidney mother mourning the overdose death of her son calls for more government action

In the City of Victoria, a flag to mark the day has been raised and lowered to half-mast at city hall. It will remain until tomorrow morning and the building will be lit in purple this evening.


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About the Author: Greater Victoria News Staff

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