Massachusetts State if Awareness On Boston Common Aug 31st 6-9 pm

Overdose Awareness Day has been a key remembrance event for those who have died from fatal drug overdoses since 2001. On August 31 thousands of people worldwide will stand beside the friends and families of fatal overdose victims to reflect on their losses.

Massachusetts State of Awareness – #IOAD event will feature a video vigil for those we have lost on large double screens throughout the event. Photo submissions for the video vigil can be made until August 10th at: ​

Massachusetts has long been a leader in the fight in responding with evidence based solutions when it comes to the opioid epidemic. Those of us on the front lines have been pivotal key players in bringing about these solutions for many years. Based on our unique and harrowing personal experiences, we have brought forth a movement that many states across the nation are beginning to adopt.

Overdose Awareness Day also presents an opportunity to help the wider community understand that drug overdose is a social issue and no-one is immune to drug harm.

With an estimated 2016 overdose deaths in Massachusetts in 2017 and 2149 deaths the year before, August 31st is a chance to show support to our communities and our friends.

For this reason, this year a broad range of Massachusetts advocacy groups from across the state have come together to host one event in Boston on the Common at the Parkman Bandstand. These organizations are working toward representing all of Massachusetts, in an effort to show the country that not only is Massachusetts a “State Without Stigma,” but that we are also the “State of Awareness.” We realize that we are stronger together and we want to show the country that Massachusetts is a beacon of hope when it comes to combating this public health crisis.

The event intends to reinforce the idea that no-one need feel shame or disgrace at the death of someone they love from drug overdose.

Our Goals:

1. To promote overdose awareness while simultaneously removing the stigma of addiction.

2. To provide solidarity in recognition for all those lost to the opioid epidemic health crisis.

3. To provide on the spot access to recovery for anyone suffering with active SUD during

the event.

4. For Massachusetts to continue be a national leader and example for other states across

the country.


I. Partnerships

Since launching this project in March, we have received commitments from 17

partnering organizations to assist in bringing this event to fruition.

Our committee for this project is comprised of representatives from each of these organizations and we have overcome many hurdles in a very short amount of time. Many more Peer Recovery Coalitions are coming on board daily growing this project’s reach.


​Local, State and Private Sector Support

We have received overwhelming support from local, state and private entities since we launched. This support includes Governor Baker making a proclamation in recognition of the day for the event and Mayor’s from across the state have pledged their support for the event as well.

We have coordinated a statewide light up purple campaign in conjunction with the event to include all communities affected across the Commonwealth. These locations currently include:

The Zakim Bridge, the Kenneth Burns Bridge, Markey Bridge Revere Beach Boulevard, Somerville City Hall, City Hall Plaza, Post Office Square, Cambridge City Hall, West Springfield City Hall, Springfield City Hall, Chelsea City Hall, Fall River Government Center, High Rock Tower in Lynn, Lucy Larcom Park in Lowell, Everett City Hall, Gloucester City Hall, Medford City Hall, Provincetown Town Hall and Cummings Properties’ three main locations will all be lit purple in honor of the day.

Many more requests are still pending and we are currently working to partner with TD Garden to have them light up purple in solidarity as well.

Entertainment, Keynote Speaker and Social Media

Daphne Willis will headline the event. Daphne is a singer and songwriter with National Acclaim. Her song, “Somebody’s Someone,” has had over 20 million views for it’s message highlighting mental illness and addiction.


KeynoteSpeaker:JoannePeterson,F​ ounderandExecutiveDirectorofLearntoCope (LTC), a non-profit peer-led support network which began in 2004. Joanne’s journey started as a young girl with siblings experiencing issues with mental illness and addiction. She designed LTC to offer families the support, education, resources and hope that her family would have benefitted from.

Our production manager is currently working on our goal to have national attention for this event. The committee’s social media reach and presence is in the hundreds of thousands and the event has already reached the view of over 75,000 people.

With the level of commitment everyone on our planning committee has exhibited toward making this event a great success, we are confident that we will meet our goals in continuing to grow our partnerships in this fight by raising awareness to break the stigma associated with substance use disorder.

Read more on our event page

Committee Organizations for Massachusetts State of Awareness:

1. Heroin is Killing My Town, Inc. – Sponsoring 501c3; (Dina Favreau and Marisol Hernandez)

2. Waltham Overcoming Addiction; (Julie Bunch and Debbie Cosgrove-Moore) 3. Somerville Overcoming Addiction; (Joann Boca-Rivieccio and Judi Walker) 4. Arlington Overcoming Addiction; (Thomas and Keriann Cacavarro)

5. Wicked Sober, LLC; (Michael Duggan)

6. Magnolia New Beginnings, Inc; (Maureen Cavanagh)

7. End the Stigma, Enough is Enough; (Sarah Ahern)

8. The Open Doorway of Cape Cod, Inc.; (Rachel Tinney and Joan Peters-Gilmartin)

9. EB Hope; (Susan Silva)

10. Coping Today, Inc.; (Kathy Leonard)

11. The Marlborough Substance Use Prevention Coalition; (Kathy Leonard)

12. Zack’s Team, Inc. (Louise Griffin)

13. MetroWest H.O.P.E.; (Kathy Leonard)

14. North Middlesex Community Cares (NM Cares); (Lauren Geneocopolous)

15. The A.E.D. Foundation; (Michelle McDonald-Dunn)

16. Wahl St. Productions; (James Wahlberg)

17. MOAR – Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery. (Maryanne Frangules)


I. DiamondLevel:A​ nonymousDonor

II. Platinum Level:​ N​ ew England Recovery and Wellness, Northeast Addiction Treatment Center, Recovery Centers of America, and Cummings Properties

III. GoldLevel:​B​ anyanRecoveryCenterofMassachusetts

For additional press inquiries please contact:

Michael Duggan – (781) 996-9215 – Kathy Leonard – (978) 875-0606 Or the MSOA Committee Member who provided you this Press Release

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