Public invited to candlelight vigil to remember love ones lost to drugs
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The fifth annual A Night To Remember, A Time To Act on August 31st is focused on bringing hope, on highlighting the role of prevention and mental health in reducing the loss of life due to substance use disorder, and on continuing efforts to combat the stigma against those affected by substance use disorder and mental health, including families and loved ones of those struggling.
Overdoses have taken a devastating toll on in Snohomish County. More than 230 people in Snohomish County were lost to drug-related overdoses in 2020 – double the number of deaths since the first candlelight vigil in 2016. There’s been a particularly alarming increase in deaths linked to synthetic drugs, namely fentanyl, which is 50-100 times more lethal than morphine or heroin. Snohomish County and many other communities have experienced a dual pandemic as we face both COVID-19 and the ongoing epidemic of substance use disorder.
Debbie Warfield and Cathi Lee, two Everett moms who lost their sons Spencer Warfield and Corey Lee to overdoses, have been turning pain into purpose by hosting this event the past five years. “This is a pivotal year for action. We need to come together as a society and everyone can be part of the solution,” says Debbie Warfield.
Cathi Lee expands, “we’ve made progress in addressing the stigma around addiction and substance use disorder. Now it’s time to turn off the pipeline at the source and implement more prevention initiatives.”
In comparing the first event to this year, Lindsey Arrington with Hope Soldiers says, “even with the increase in resources and awareness, there is still a deficit when it comes to preventing addiction before it ever starts. We need to address trauma, and it starts with our youth.”
Those who have lost loved ones to overdoses, who are battling substance use disorder, who are in recovery, or who simply want to show their support and learn about the impact of substance use in Snohomish County are invited to participate in A Night to Remember, A Time to Act on August 31.
The event is entirely outdoors this year, and masks are required, per state orders and public health guidance. Those who are not comfortable attending in person may participate virtually through the livestream on social media via the Hope Soldiers and Snohomish Overdose Prevention Facebook pages.
The outdoor Resource Fair starts at 5:00 p.m. in the plaza at the Snohomish County Campus, 3000 Rockefeller Ave. in Everett. Prevention and recovery service providers will be at the resource fair. Masks will be available for those who do not have one. A limited number of naloxone (also known as Narcan) kits also will be available at the event, along with information about upcoming trainings on how and when to administer the opioid overdose reversal drug.
At 6:15 p.m. there will be a live musical performance and folks will make their way from the resource fair down to the amphitheater at the plaza. The event program will start at 6:30 p.m. with Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers as the Master of Ceremonies. Other speakers will include Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters with the Snohomish Health District, Dr. Christopher Scodeller with Swedish Emergency Medicine, Director Laura Knapp with Providence Behavioral Health Urgent Care, and Judy Hoff and Lindsey Arrington to share messages of encouragement and hope.
Guests are encouraged to bring photos or mementos to honor their loved ones and light one of the candles provided. Candle lighting is welcome throughout the event.
More resources and information about substance use disorder are available at www.snohomishoverdoseprevention.com. This website and accompanying social media accounts were developed to be a one-stop shop for resources. Whether trying to understand the problem, prevent addiction, or save a life, this is a place to find information for that first next step.
For individual and family support, Hope Soldiers is local organization helping people find freedom from addiction and mental health struggles. The Washington Recovery Help Line also offers free, confidential support 24 hours a day at 1-866-789-1511. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, please reach out for help.
Content Source: Snohomish Health District Press Release