The Peace Country Drug Awareness Coalition is holding its sixth annual Overdose Awareness Day this Friday in Grande Prairie.
Chair Tyla Savard says their goal this year is to highlight what supports are available and then build on those supports to allow the community to come together. She adds more awareness is needed as the number of fatal opioid overdoses continue to increase.
“We are at five people a day now in Alberta where last year we were at four. Every year we just have that much more growth. Back in 2019, before the pandemic, we were at two people a day.”
In Grande Prairie alone, there were five deaths attributed to accidental opioid overdoses in May 2022, bringing the year-to-date total to 18. In all of 2021, there were a record number of deaths in the community with 42 lives lost.
Savard says it’s important to remember the victims and drug users are still people and still somebody’s loved ones and shouldn’t be labelled as addicts or junkies. She adds this year her organization is taking action on education and awareness in the community.
“Showcasing what supports we have, building on those supports, and really getting our message out there. There are many really good things happening, but they can be hard to find.”
On Friday, the event will be held at The Community Village from 5 to 8 p.m. with a candlelight vigil at 7. The public is invited to learn about support programs and connect with others impacted.