Delaware County, September 5, 2022 – Last week, State Senator John I. Kane (D-Chester/Delaware) and State Senator Tim Kearney (D-Delaware) reflected and remembered lives lost due to overdose with a candlelight vigil at the Delaware County Courthouse.  

Overdose Awareness Day is an annual international campaign created helping to end overdose, remember those who have died without stigma, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind. According to provisional data from the CDC, of the more than 107,600 reported drug overdose deaths in 2021, more than three-quarters were attributed to opioids. Additionally, in 2020 there were more unintentional overdose deaths in the workplace than in any other year since data collection began in 2011.

“Too many lives have slipped through the cracks due to the neglect and stigma around drug addiction. Events like this bring so much awareness to the public and show that families everywhere are grieving.” said Senator Kane. “It’s a tough reality to face what our Commonwealth is going through, but we have to take the blindfold off in order to address the needs of our communities.”

Joining Senators Kane and Kearney were Delaware County Council, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon and Delaware County Sheriff Jerry Sanders. Participants at the Vigil included the Aids Care Group, Mirmont Treatment, Keystone Center, Recovery Without Barriers and County Human Services.

“This is the second consecutive year that I’ve partnered with Senator Kane for this event. Every year, hundreds of thousands of lives and families continue to be impacted by overdose,” said Senator Kearney. “Overdoses affect us all, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, gender, or social status. We must cast away shame and the taboo and shine a light on this epidemic so our loved ones can end their suffering and get the treatment they need.  We need to implement harm reduction policies that prevent overdoses and keep people alive. This past year, I introduced legislation to legalize fentanyl test strips – one small tool that can prevent overdoses. We are close to finally passing a bill through the legislature and I will continue to push the Senate’s Majority leaders to move the bill and put it up for a vote with urgency.”

“There is so little time to act when someone is overdosing and every second counts. The Good Samaritan Law was legislation that I sponsored to make sure no time is wasted with worry when an overdose is happening. The Good Samaritan Law ensures that Pennsylvanians facing medical emergencies such as a drug overdose can get medical attention without the one who made the call for help facing criminal charges.” Shared Senator Kane. “Guaranteeing this immunity in cases of opioid and alcohol usage will save the lives of so many folks allowing individuals to make the call for help instead of hesitating from worry of going to jail.”

As the sun set, over 180 names of some of those who have died due to overdose in the past year were read aloud while candles were lit in their memory. A moment of silence was then held for all of those who have lost their life due to drug opioid addiction.

Full video of the Overdose Awareness Vigil is available here.

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