International Overdose Awareness Day; Candlelight Memorial Remembering Those Lost to Opioid Addiction

Modified: August 16, 2017 4:19pm

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From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein

Date August 16, 2017

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925

 International Overdose Awareness Day

Candlelight Memorial Remembering Those Lost to Opioid Addiction


ERIE COUNTY, NY—On Thursday, August 31, 2017, at 6:30PM the second Candlelight Memorial to remember loved ones, neighbors, colleagues and friends who succumbed to the disease of opioid addiction will be held at the LaSalle Park Pavilion Bandshell. This event, occurring on International Overdose Awareness Day, is sponsored by the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force’s (“ECOETF”) Family and Consumer Support and Advocacy group. Their goal is to save lives while erasing the stigma of addiction, and educate the community to treat addiction appropriately, as “substance abuse disorder”, a recognized disease. 



“This memorial provides the opportunity for participants to engage in a reading of names of those we have lost, share reflections, gather information on overdose prevention, addiction/recovery and family resources, and learn about advocacy efforts,” said Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health.

International Overdose Awareness Day (“IOAD”) is a global event held on August 31st each year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and spread the message that the tragedy of overdose is preventable. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.  For more information on IOAD, please visit

Everyone is welcome to attend; especially those touched personally by the loss of a loved one or are currently dealing with the active opiate addiction of a loved one.

Invited or expected guests include:

  • Patrick Burke, Erie County Legislator, District 7
  • Lynne Dixon, Erie County Legislator, District 9
  • Joel Feroleto, Delaware District, Buffalo Common Council Member
  • Christopher Jacobs, NY State Senator, 60th Senate District
  • James McHugh, Group Supervisor, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 
  • Cheryll Moore, Medical Care Administrator, Erie County Department of Health
  • Ted Morton, Erie County Legislator, District 8
  • Michael Ranney, Commissioner of Mental Health, Erie County
  • Daniel Rinaldo, Drug Intelligence Officer, New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)

The Family and Consumer Support and Advocacy group will join with concerned members of the community in a healing ceremony to honor and remember their loved ones. The group will continue to work towards an end of the opiate epidemic, while providing support and assistance to those currently dealing with addiction in their family.

All are welcome to join us to learn more about our efforts and provide support to all who are affected by this epidemic.

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For More Information:

Debra Smith, Chair, ECOETF Family and Consumer Support and Advocacy group 716.858.7847

International Overdose Awareness Day poster

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Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

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