The second annual Cortland County’s Overdose Awareness Candlelight Vigil is slated for today at 7 p.m., which is also International Overdose Awareness Day, at Courthouse Park in the City of Cortland.
It is an event run by Healing Hearts Collaborative, which is a narcan distribution program through Central New York.
“This event is about awareness, a safe and stigma-free place for people to grieve, talk about their loved ones and honor their loved ones. It’s also a place for people to share their stories,” said Dean O’Gorman, the program director for Healing Hearts Collaborative and sole organizer of the candlelight vigil.
O’Gorman’s son, Spencer O’Gorman, died of an overdose in 2017. Since then, O’Gorman has gotten himself involved in the education of overdose and overdose awareness.
“I dug to figure out how I missed it and what happened. Through that, I found a lot of different things going on that we don’t have everything we need for our community,” he said.
According to O’Gorman, over 250 people died from an overdose around this time last year in the United States. Now, close to 300 lives are lost a day from overdose in the country, he added.
O’Gorman noted 295 signs will be on display at the event. Each sign will say “Supporting the fighters, admiring the survivors and always honoring the taken.”
The event will also have a few speakers, including a parent who will share their story based on a loved one they’ve lost due to an overdose, and more.
The Cortland Voice is proud to be one of the new and main sponsors of the event.
The event is also sponsored by Healing Cortland, Prevention Network, Southern Tier AIDS program and Central Region Addiction Resource Center.