Public invited to annual Overdose Awareness Day candlelight vigil

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The sixth annual A Night To Remember, A Time To Act will take place on International Overdose Awareness Day on Wednesday, August 31. A resource fair will begin at 5 p.m., with the candlelight vigil and program starting at 6:30 p.m.

 The event brings members of the community together to remember those who have died of overdoses, as well as lift up those who are struggling with addiction and substance use disorder. Anyone is welcome to attend. This year’s theme is Pathways to Purpose. 

 The vigil was started six years ago by Cathi Lee and Debbie Warfield. They organize the event in memory of their sons, whom they lost to overdoses, and to help reach others who are struggling or grieving a loved one. The event is coordinated in partnership with Hope Soldiers, Snohomish County and the Snohomish Health District.

 “Spencer has been gone now for almost 10 years. It seems so unbelievable,” said Debbie Warfield. “We have moved forward with awareness, but still have so much work to do with overdose prevention and availability of drugs on the streets.”

 “Changing the stigma and bringing awareness of this tragic epidemic was a start, but now we have to work together and harder to find realistic and working solutions for substance abuse, addiction and mental health,” said Cathi Lee. “It is time to stop the heartache that this is increasingly causing for friends, families and communities. It is time to strategize for prevention.”

The resource fair will feature a variety of local service providers who can share information about substance use prevention, recovery, and other community support. The fair runs from 5 p.m. until about 9 p.m. at the Snohomish County Plaza at 3000 Rockefeller Ave. in Everett. Narcan will be available at no cost while supplies last.

At about 6:30 p.m., the evening’s program will begin with a candlelight vigil and a moment of silence in remembrance of all those lost to overdoses. In Snohomish County, more than 1,000 lives have been ended by overdoses since the start of 2019.

Following the candlelight vigil, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers will open the program. Snohomish County Sherriff Adam Fortney will introduce graduates from the LEAD the Way Program, who will share their experience with this prevention program in a Q&A. Mark Rogge, construction director for Supreme Living, will also share his story of battling addiction and now working to build treatment facilities. 

The program will be MC’d by Lindsey Arrington of Hope Soldiers. 

“It has truly been an honor to join and support these two courageous women with this event for a 6th year,” Arrington said. “We look forward to having more information to share with the public about increased support and services, and warning about the dangers of fentanyl; how no recreational drug or inhalant device is safe for anyone – especially kids. And I still think the most important message we can give is that there is still hope, and that is what I am most looking forward to leaving community members with.”

The event will be livestreamed via the Hope Soldiers and Snohomish Overdose Prevention Facebook pages for those who cannot attend in person.

More resources and information about substance use disorder are available at www.snohomishoverdoseprevention.com. 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

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