TEWKSBURY — The Front Line Initiative and Tewksbury Police Department would like to invite the community to join them as they hold the 11th Annual Tewksbury Overdose Vigil in memory of all those lost to substance use disorder and overdose.
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 13; name signing at 5:30 p.m.; Name readings at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Tewksbury Recreation Center, 286 Livingston St., Tewksbury, MA
WHAT: Community members are invited to join the Front Line Initiative and Tewksbury Police Department for the town’s 11th-annual Overdose Vigil to remember those lost to overdose and substance use disorder.
Participants are encouraged to bring a photograph of a loved one, and sign a book of names that will be read aloud at 6:30 p.m. to commemorate those lost.
In 2020 in Tewksbury there were 72 overdoses, nine of which were fatal; in 2021 there were 69 overdoses, nine of which were fatal; and so far in 2022 there have been 33 overdoses, five of which were fatal.
“We want to continue to show support for the families who still suffer from the loss of their loved ones,” said Chief Ryan Columbus. “This epidemic runs deep in our nation, and what has happened to our communities is a national tragedy.”
The Vigil comes just after the Front Line Initiative distributed 42 kits of the overdose-reversing drug Narcan, and trained 45 people to administer the drug during an event at the Tewksbury library on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Narcan, an opioid antagonist, can quickly reverse the effects of a potentially fatal painkiller or heroin overdose by binding to opioid receptors and reversing or blocking the effects of other opioids, quickly restoring normal breathing. Narcan is not dangerous if administered to a person who is not overdosing and it has no potential to be misused for abuse.
“One of the most effective ways to prevent overdose deaths among the at-risk population of those with substance use disorder is to carry and know how to administer Narcan, which has saved tens of thousands of lives nationwide,” said Executive Director Matthew Page-Shelton. “We are pleased we were able to help share the life-saving power of Narcan, and to gather together to remember those lost at this event later this month.”
Tewksbury Police continue to provide education, prevention, enforcement and treatment, while working with organizations like the Front Line Initiative to provide resources for those seeking recovery and those in need of outreach.
“Although overdose numbers are trending down from 2017, when there were 98 overdoses and 14 lives lost, we still need to remember the lost and be vigilant as we face the future as a department and as parents,” said Chief Columbus. “I hope the community will join us for this very important remembrance.”