BANGOR — August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, and local and state advocates will honor and celebrate the lives of Mainers lost to drug overdose death.
The community is encouraged to join a walking vigil on Monday, August 31, at 5:30 p.m., in Bangor. The vigil will begin at Pickering Square and end at Together Place at 2 Second Street. Candles and masks will be provided upon request. Strict physical distancing and masking will be expected and followed. The program will run for approximately one hour and feature speakers who are directly impacted by the overdose death crisis.
Co-sponsored by Health Equity Alliance, Penobscot Community Health Care, Together Place Peer Recovery Center, Needlepoint Sanctuary, Higher Ground Services, SequelCare of Maine, Shaw House, and Wellspring, the event will feature a candlelit, walking vigil through downtown Bangor. The vigil will conclude with the announcement of a year-long, community-led participatory activity related to International Overdose Awareness Day. The culmination of this activity will be unveiled at the 2021 International Overdose Awareness Day event and reflect both commemoration of those lost and the great resilience of the community.
According to the Maine Attorney General’s Drug Death Report for the first quarter of 2020, drug overdose deaths have significantly increased in the first quarter of 2020, with 127 Mainers already lost to preventable overdose death. The report indicates a 23% increase in deaths over the fourth quarter of 2019. Preliminary analysis projects a continuation of this devastating trend.
“The greater Bangor area continues to have one of the highest overdose rates in the state,” said Health Equity Alliance, in a news release.
This is an in-person event. Leading up to the event, organizers will pay careful attention to variable conditions regarding COVID-19 cases and community spread in Bangor and Penobscot County, according to the release. Organizers may adjust plans and will alert the community and media as soon as possible.