By Bob Katzen
Team Sharing, a Massachusetts-based organization comprised of parents who have lost a child to an opioid overdose, is urging Gov. Baker and other governors across the nation to fly flags at half-mast on August 31, International Overdose Awareness Day, in memory of all the people who have died from an overdose.
“It’s the one day of the year that we, who have lost our loved ones, can share our child with the world in remembrance of them by holding vigils,” wrote Cheryl Juaire, the founder and executive director of the group, in a letter to Baker this week. “This would not only honor those lives lost, but that’s not enough. This year we have again started our campaign to try and get each of our states to lower their flags to half-staff. Because their lives mattered. This would not only honor those lives lost, but what a statement it would have to help end the stigma. How our great state of Massachusetts will not stand for it and is fighting to end it.”
The Department of Public Health released numbers last week that showed that 2,015 people died in the Bay State of opioid overdoses in 2019. Although that number is a 4 percent drop from the 2016 peak of 2,102 deaths, it is almost exactly equal to the 2018 figures of roughly 2,031.