The sidewalk that runs by the ground-level parking space at the Langley Township civic building was covered with chalk outlines of bodies on Saturday, Aug. 28, along with purple ribbons to remember those who have died as a result of drug overdoses.
Within the chalk outlines were names and descriptions such as “someone’s love” and “someone’s son,” along with messages that called to “end overdoses,” and “end stigma.”
“Do you see us now?” was written out several times and paper cards with readable code were taped up to direct those interested to an online source of more information by visiting www.momsstoptheharm.com.
Moms Stop the Harm (MSTH) also left chalk outlines and messaging at MP Tamara Jansen’s office, while another group, Langley Community Overdose Community Action Table (CAT), set up static displays to mourn overdose deaths at Derek Doubleday Arboretum, Fort Langley community hall, and at the corner of 208th and 80th Ave.
Murrayville resident Traci Letts, a member of MSTH and CAT, explained it was to mark overdose awareness week, and to let people know about a planned awareness walk in Langley on Tuesday, Aug. 31. organized by several community groups.
“Six people a day are dying from overdoses in British Columbia,” Letts told the Langley Advance Times.
The chalk outlines and messages are “to start conversations and bring awareness” about the extent of the problem, Letts said.
On Tuesday, people will walk from Derek Doubleday Arboretum, at 21559 Fraser Highway, to Douglas Park in Langley City, beginning at 6 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m. there will be speakers, a barbecue and a candlelight vigil, as well as training in how to use naloxone to treat overdoses.
Moms Stop the Harm is a network of Canadian families affected by substance use-related harms and deaths, who provide peer support to grieving families and those with loved ones who use or have used drugs.
MSTH has called for changing drug policies to focus on treatment, rather than punishment, through ensuring drug users have access to safe and regulated options so they don’t have to turn to illicit sources that could contain toxic and deadly substances.
The Langley event is happening just days after the Fraser Health Authority (FHA) issued an overdose alert across the Fraser Health region Thursday, the result of first responders fielding a total of 171 calls across the province on Aug. 25.
Incidents are connected specifically to “a yellow down substance and a black down substance,” likely contaminated with benzodiazepines, the FHA reported.
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