Thunder Bay

Reducing stigma: Thunder Bay marks International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day will be a "very significant" event in Thunder Bay, a harm reduction worker with NorWest Community Health Centres said.

Event runs Tuesday at entrance to Kaministiquia River Heritage Park

NorWest Community Health Centres marked last year's International Overdose Awareness Day with an event that included displaying 25 balloons with placards. This year's Overdose Awareness Day will take place Tuesday at the entrance to Kaminstiquia River Heritage Park. (Amanda Bay/Firedog Communications)

International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) will be a "very significant" event in Thunder Bay, a harm reduction worker with NorWest Community Health Centres said.

Thunder Bay's IOAD event will get underway at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the entrance to Kaministiquia River Heritage Park at the corner of Simpson and Donald streets.

The event will include resource booths, overdose prevention training, free naloxone and activities to help people make tributes to loved ones who died of overdoses.

And harm reduction worker Kyle Arnold said, the event will also help reduce stigma around overdose deaths, which affect people from all walks of life.

"I think it's important for people to remember that it can happen to anybody," Arnold said. "The overdose crisis isn't just happening to the most vulnerable, but it's happening to families everywhere."

"And, you know, when you have an addict or somebody experiencing overdoses in your family, it affects everybody in that family."

Arnold said Tuesday's event will include a memorial tree, which will house the names of people who have died of an overdose.

"The biggest thing for me is reducing the stigma behind it," said Arnold, who himself struggled with addiction for 20 years. "So I hope that community members and community patrons, everybody from the community, comes out because overdoses affect everybody."

"And I think it would be a good event for people to be able to access services and just learn more about it, as well as memorialize the people that we have lost."

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