City Hall to Be Illuminated with Purple Lights; Ceremony to Place Flags for Those Lost to Overdose; Community-wide Call for all to Hang Purple Ribbons & More

SOMERVILLE – In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) on Saturday, August 31, and National Recovery Month in September, advocates and officials in Somerville have united in their call for Somervillians to observe both events in a few simple but powerful ways. From displaying purple lights and ribbons to attending vigils and events, residents can send a message of support and hope for recovery.

A Memorial Gathering and Overdose Awareness Ceremony will be held on Thursday, August 29, at City Hall. Attendees will be given 77 purple flags to place in memory of the 77 Somerville residents lost to overdose since 2014 and 1 larger flag for all those lost in previous years. On behalf of the community, City Hall will also be lit with purple light after the ceremony and will remain so for the week of Thursday, August 29, to Friday, September 6, to remember those who we have lost and help raise awareness that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. All are invited to join in this message in the following ways:

Light your home or business with purple lights; tie a purple ribbon on your tree or fence:
To recognize the loss of family and friends impacted by this public health crisis, please join us in sharing a message of support and hope for recovery by lighting your home or business with purple lights, by tying a purple ribbon on your tree or fence, or by taking some other step to add purple to your yard or porch to stand with families who have lost a loved one. Starting Thursday, August 29, hang a string of lights or swap your porch light out for a purple lightbulb, or place a purple light in a window (if you have electric holiday candles, you could purchase purple bulbs for them). Leave them up either for Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 or all week as City Hall will do to observe National Recovery Month. Have a roll of purple ribbon? Share it with your neighbors or nearby businesses too.

Change your social media profile photo to one of these International Overdose Awareness Day or National Recovery Month images below, or post the image, or tweet with the hashtags #EndOverdose or #OverdoseAware:
End Overdose Image
Overdose Aware Image
National Recovery Month – 30th Anniversary Image

Attend the Recovery Month Proclamation on Thursday, August 22, at 7 p.m.:
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone and the City Council will pronounce that the City of Somerville is observing International Overdose Awareness Day and National Recovery Month. In declaring September Recovery Month, we will recognize that we as a community, in addition to honoring lives lost, must also pull together to focus on supporting the efforts of and assisting people in recovery. The meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers, on the 2nd floor of City Hall, 93 Highland Ave.

Attend the Memorial Gathering and Overdose Awareness Ceremony at City Hall on Thursday, August 29, at 5:07 p.m.:
Join Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, City Councilors, local champions for recovery, City staff, community members, and others for a ceremony and short speaking program to place purple flags in remembrance of those in Somerville who have lost their lives to overdose, in support of the friends and family left behind, and as a reaffirmation of our community’s commitment to ending this epidemic. The event will be held outside City Hall. Rain location is the Aldermanic Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall.

Attend the Somerville Overcoming Addiction 6th Annual Vigil at Warehouse XI on Sunday, September 29, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Become a Recovery Coach:
If you are interested in learning more about how to support those impacted by addiction, the City’s COHR (Community Outreach, Help & Recovery) program will be offering the nationally approved CCAR Recovery Coach Academy in September. To learn more contact Patty Contente, or 617-625-6600 ext. 7281.

Stay aware and involved year-round:
Keep reading, stay aware, help those who need them connect with resources, let your elected officials at every level know you expect change, and get involved. The City of Somerville has Narcan and Narcan training available through Health and Human Services year-round. Contact Prevention Services Manager Matthew Mitchell via 311. The City is also fortunate to have many grassroots community partners such as Families Anonymous, GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing), Learn to Cope, and Somerville Overcoming Addiction available to assist family members. In addition, COHR provides supports regarding prevention as well as access to services, intervention, and recovery.

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