ASHEBORO – It was pouring rain for last year's inaugural candlelight vigil in Asheboro on the International Day of Overdose Awareness in August.
The guy who had to offer tables, tents and a sound installation for the event, thought that the event would be canceled because of the bad weather, so he did not show up.
But 200 other people did it.
There were family and friends of individuals who were touched by overdose of drugs.
There were active drug users seeking help or hope or a naloxone kit, a drug that reverses the effects of overdose opioids.
And there were also people who had no direct connection with someone with a drug problem, but who wanted more information about what it is all about.
Those who stayed too late have heard a few cruel stories.
"It was a good hour and a half of people talking from the heart," said Kelly Murcin Link. "It was great, it was perfect."
Link is the co-founder (with her daughter Ashley Hedrick) of a group called Asheboro Alliance and Risk Prevention, which sponsored the meeting last year. The organization is now a non-profit organization with a new name, Community Hope Alliance, and this year also sponsors the event.
The second annual Overdose Awareness Day event, including a candlelit vigil, is scheduled in Asheboro from 6pm to 9pm. Saturday, August 25, in the parking lot at the courthouse Randolph County at 176 E. Salisbury St.
This year's forecast is for sunny and clear weather, but it will be rain or shine.
International Overdose Awareness Day started in 2001 in the Salvation Army in St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia. Now it is a global event on August 31, with the aim of raising awareness of overdose and the stigma of drug-related death, while recognizing the grief felt by families and friends that remind those who have died or sustained injury had as a result of an overdose of drugs.
The main message is that an overdose can be prevented dead.
Honor a loved one
Free pizza & # 39; s and drinks are served on Saturdays – along with literature on addiction and information on area resources for both drug users and their families and friends.
Volunteers will sell T-shirts and bracelets to finance the work of the group.
Community Hope Alliance volunteers will also issue free naloxone, a drug used to reverse the effects of opioids, including prescription drugs such as oxycodone and illegal drugs such as heroin.
Everyone is invited to attend. Taking a chair is a good idea, because the seats will be limited.
And everyone is invited to speak – to give a testimony, to honor a loved one or just to share a story.
Those who have lost someone to drug overdoses are invited to take a picture of their loved one for a special screening.
According to data from Randolph County Emergency Medical Services, there were 256 suspected overdose patients in the county in the first six months of 2018 – 150 men and 106 women.
Twenty-four of those persons died.
The youngest was a 15-year-old girl who died of a suspected heroin overdose.
The eldest was a 65-year-old man who also died of a suspected heroin overdose.
There were three deaths from overdose in July and at least one so far in August.
"Until I started this, I did not understand the addiction," Link said.
At that time her son Brett had been fighting addiction for more than a decade in April 2017. She felt defeated and the only end she could see was to lose her son to drugs.
She wanted – had to do something.
So she started to do research, make phone calls and send e-mails. She began attending meetings and working with other local organizations with the same mission.
On the Overdose Awareness Day last year, Link and her group set up 125 pairs of shoes to represent the number of people who died of an overdose every day in the United States. They fixed balloons on the shoes. They also added photos that were shared by their loved ones of some of those who had died.
The number of people who die from an overdose increases.
This year they will need more balloons.
* For more information call Link at 336-465-1431.