Overdose memorial, prevention day planned

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An Overdose Awareness Day event is planned from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday on the Wilson County Library lawn.

“We want to bring respect, dignity and healing to those impacted by overdose,” said Candice Rountree, Wilson County Department of Social Services’ program manager. “International Awareness Overdose Day is Aug. 31 and our intention is to raise awareness about overdose, to remember without stigma those who have lost their lives to overdose and to provide better support for overdose prevention.”

The Wilson County Department of Social Services and Eastpointe are hosting the event in partnership with the Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition.

The event will include remarks from Noel Pender of Tabernacle Baptist Church, who is also a certified recovery coach. A moment of silence will be held to remember those who lost their lives due to an overdose. Vendors will be on hand with information about services and resources available in the community. A children’s corner will provide fun activities for children including free snow cones.

The event has several goals including providing an opportunity for people to publicly mourn loved ones, some for the first time, without feeling guilt or shame, Rountree said. She said organizers also want to give community members information about the issue of fatal and non-fatal overdose and to send a strong message to people who currently or have used drugs in the past that they are valued. Officials hope to spark discussion about overdose prevention and drug policy.