A candlelight vigil is planned this week in downtown Cleveland in observance of overdose awareness. The “Save Our Children — International Overdose Awareness Vigil” is scheduled for 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Bradley County Courthouse Plaza.
According to www.overdoseday.com, International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held Aug. 31 each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. Locally, the Tennessee Overdose Prevention organization has partnered with 64 Butterflies, a grief support group for parents which can be found on Facebook as “64 Butterflies.”
In a post on the 64 Butterflies Facebook page, group founder Angie Taylor noted it is time for the public “to stand together to help stop this growing epidemic.”
“It has taken too many of our loved ones whether they had experimented the first time, had been given the wrong medication or were in active addiction,” the post stated.
In a news release about the event, organizers acknowledged it is a different event than the one on the Greenway in Cleveland on the next weekend.
Friday’s “Save Our Children – International Overdose Awareness Vigil” is an event for Chattanooga and Cleveland area. Plans include lighting the courthouse with purple – the color for overdose awareness – to symbolize the worldwide observance, as well as speakers ranging from overdose survivors, those who have recovered from addiction and “government or people in law enforcement fighting the epidemic.” Candles will be provided for the candlelight vigil, and there will be purple ribbons for anyone who has lost a child “to anything drug related.”
According to the news release, Taylor chose to hold the event in Cleveland “because of the so many we have fighting the epidemic as well as the so many we are losing to it.”
Taylor lost her 16-year-old son two years ago, and saw the need “that we were losing so many and Bradley County did not have a (support) group.”
“Your child is your child at any age so it is open to anyone who has lost a child at any time for any reason,” Taylor said. “We can be found on Facebook at 64 Butterflies or we meet the third Thursday at Prospect Cumberland Presbyterian Church. We help each other and are there for one another. You never get over losing a child.”
Taylor said 64 Butterflies was asked to do the event by Tennessee Overdose Prevention Director Nancy Daniels since there wasn’t one planned for Chattanooga area.
At http http://www.tnoverdoseprevention.org photos to honor and remember loved ones lost to drug related death may be shared on the revolving “Remembering Carousel” photo galleries.
For more information, contact 64 Butterflies, Angie Taylor, Terry Beaty, Melanie Quine Marshall or Beth Freeman on Facebook.