Nanaimo victims who have died due to drug overdose will be remembered at an event at Maffeo Sutton Park on Thursday (Aug. 31), International Overdose Awareness Day.
The day not only seeks to memorialize victims of overdose, but raise awareness and reduce stigma of deaths related to drugs. Tanya Hiltz, organizer and Nob Hill Community Association president, said the event will build on a similar one held in June, when memorial trees were unveiled with names of those dying from fentanyl overdose.
“We have gathered over 100 names for the trees and we felt it was time to bring [Overdose Awareness Day] officially to Nanaimo. It’s never been done here before,” said Hiltz.
Politicians – Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay, MLAs Doug Routley and Leonard Krog and MP Sheila Malcolmson – will be speaking as well as Dr. Paul Hasselback, Island Health medical health officer, and people who have lost loved ones to overdose, according to Hiltz. AIDS Vancouver Island will also be on hand, giving naloxone training, she said.
The event takes place Thursday at Maffeo Sutton Park at the Lions Pavilion between 2 and 4 p.m.
“Everybody’s welcome,” said Hiltz. “Come and meet the people, have a chat with them and [listen to] their stories.”