A candlelight vigil is planned Monday night in Minneapolis to draw attention to drug overdose deaths, which have skyrocketed across the country in recent years.
International Overdose Awareness Day is marked on Aug. 31 to address what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called an overdose epidemic. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 37,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2013, mostly from prescription pain medication or heroin.
Adam Fairbanks, harm reduction services director for Twin Cities treatment center Valhalla Place, said this is the fifth year his organization has sponsored the vigil.
"Some people have shared poems. Some people will go up and talk about the day their person overdosed — some people will talk about what they were like growing up and the contribution they shared with the world," Fairbanks said. "There will be a lot of different things being shared."
Gov. Mark Dayton also declared Monday "Overdose Awareness Day," citing the thousands of people who will stand beside friends and families of fatal overdose victims to remember those who have been lost to overdose.
The vigil will be held at 7 p.m. at Minneapolis' All God's Children Metropolitan Community Church, located at 3100 Park Ave. Scheduled speakers include Hennepin County Commissioner Marion Greene and state Rep. Susan Allen. Music and a Native American drum circle will also be featured.