Virtual vigil for five year anniversary of B.C.'s public health overdose emergency

Virtual vigil for lives lost

To honour lives lost, Penticton groups are hosting a virtual vigil on the five year anniversary of B.C.'s public health overdose emergency.

B.C. declared the public health emergency after a significant increase in overdose deaths were caused by opioids in 2016.

Moms Stop the Harm South Okanagan and the Penticton and Area Overdose Prevention Society are running the online ceremony and will speak about the past five years, inviting anyone interested in being a part of the event to light a candle and watch the streamed event from home.

Overdoses continue to surge throughout B.C., recording record breaking numbers again in 2021.

2020 recorded a record for most overdose deaths in single year, seeing a 74 per cent increase over the number of deaths recorded in 2019 bringing the death toll to 1,716. This number equates to 4.7 deaths per day – 2 deaths per day higher than last year (2.7).

Due to current restrictions, only 10 people will be in attendance at the physical location.

Community members have also sent in video clips sharing their stories of loved ones lost which will be played during the vigil.

Throughout the day of April 14, the community is encouraged to print out images or messages for loved ones to display on the bandshell at Gyro Park before 6 p.m. The theme colour for the event is purple in union with international Overdose Awareness colours.

“Thanks to OneSky Community Resources and Pathways Addiction Resources Centre for support in organizing this event.Thank you in advance to all who are participating. We remember the lives of those lost to overdose,” the event page reads.

More information on the event and how to join virtually can be found on the Facebook page here.

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