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Posted on: August 27, 2019

International Overdose Awareness Day Vigil

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Please join Portland Public Health’s Needle Exchange Program and its volunteer-based outreach team, I AM HERE, as they host Portland’s Sixth Annual Overdose Awareness Day Vigil. Accidental overdose has become the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50.

International Overdose Awareness Day has been a key remembrance event for those who have died from fatal drug overdoses since 2001 and this vigil is part of an international movement organized by the Penington Institute in Australia. 

This year’s vigil will include naloxone trainings, music by Ocean Sol Jazz, community speakers and two art installations.

“Pieces of Recovery: The Puzzle Project” will be featured at the vigil, which is an art piece created by Glenn Simpson who traveled over 2000 miles, through all 16 counties in Maine, connecting and creating with folks in recovery and their families. The 354 puzzle pieces represent the 354 drug poisoning deaths experienced in Maine in 2018. “That clicked for me, that recovery is like a puzzle. That while our individual stories are important, it’s that connection we make as a community where real healing begins.” Glenn Simpson told Beacon in December, 2018. 

The second art installation will be debuting at this year’s vigil and is entitled “The Forgotten Forest Project.” It will feature a painted forest of trees to represent the lives lost to overdose here in Maine.

On August 30th and 31st, the lights on City Hall will be purple in remembrance of those lost to overdose.

In addition, Portland Public Health will also be honoring National Recovery Month throughout September with local community resources and lanterns from the Overdose Awareness Day Vigil on display in the rotunda of City Hall. In celebration of National Recovery Month, the lights on City Hall will be turquoise from September 1st-3rd.

These events are free and open to anyone wishing to attend.

International Overdose Awareness Day Vigil
WHEN: Friday, August 30, 2019
Music and activities will begin at 5:30pm
WHERE: Deering Oaks Park
For more information please email Zoe Brokos at or call (207) 756-8024

National Recovery Month
WHEN: All month beginning Tuesday, September 3
Display and resources available from 8am-4:30pm
WHERE: City Hall Rotunda

For more information please email Bridget Rauscher at or call (207) 874-8634

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