People gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Wednesday (Aug. 31) for an International Overdose Awareness Day event. (Photo: Anna Burns)

People gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Wednesday (Aug. 31) for an International Overdose Awareness Day event. (Photo: Anna Burns)

In Surrey, an International Overdose Awareness Day memorial event at Holland Park

‘Bring a picture or write a story about a loved one,’ event organizers urged prior to the event

An event in Surrey Wednesday (Aug. 31) memorialized lives lost to the overdose crisis.

Surrey Community Action Team hosted an International Overdose Awareness Day gathering at Holland Park.

The early-afternoon event was hosted in partnership with Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association (FRAFCA), with lunch served by Phoenix Society’s food truck.

A traditional blessing was done by Ray Thunderchild for close to 100 people in attendance, who heard stories of loved ones lost to overdose.

Resources, naloxone kits and training were made available.

Beforehand, a Facebook event post urged people to “bring a picture or write a story about a loved one and share on a string banner.”

• RELATED: Why you may see purple chairs popping up on International Overdose Awareness Day.

Wednesday (Aug. 31) marks the International Overdose Awareness Day, and this year advocates are asking people to draw attention to those lost to the toxic drug supply through the use of empty purple chairs.

Purple has long been used as the colour to represent lives lost to the growing global crisis. Now, the empty chairs will stand in those peoples’ places.

In 2021 in B.C., a record 2,264 people died as a result of the toxic supply and another 1,095 people have died in the first six months of 2022 alone.

In the last decade, toxic drugs have killed 11,670 people in B.C. More than 10,000 of those deaths have occurred since the province declared the toxic supply a public health emergency in 2016.

– with Black Press Media file

B.C. overdosesoverdose crisis

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