Back on Track recovery house operator Cole Izsak (left) and South Surrey parent Maggie Plett (holding a photo of her son, Zachary) walk north along Johnston Road with dozens of others Wednesday, in an effort to raise awareness around the overdose crisis. (Tracy Holmes photo)

White Rock overdose march aims to reduce stigma, raise awareness

Community event drew parents, counsellors and more

The photographs carried along the route of yesterday’s overdose awareness march in White Rock had a common theme: young faces, with bright smiles that emanated hope.

But there was also a distinct sadness to their inclusion in the walk – all of them have fallen victim to the ongoing overdose crisis.

To name just a few: Zachary Plett, who died last December; Brodie Clements, who died in April of last year; Cheyenne Sekura, who died exactly two months before Clements; and Jerry Verge, aka Mecca, who died at the age of 31.

Remembering loved ones lost was a key focus of Wednesday afternoon’s march, which was held to mark International Overdose Awareness Day (Aug. 31) and drew dozens of people to gather in front of White Rock City Hall.

READ MORE: Overdose awareness march planned for White Rock

There were grieving parents and other family members, counsellors and recovery home operators, city officials and people who are currently in recovery themselves.

Several who were not carrying photographs of loved ones – and even some who were – made the trek through White Rock’s uptown neighbourhood, along Johnston Road to 18 Avenue and 152 Street and back, carrying placards with messages including ‘No more stigma, No more shame,’ ‘Unite for safe supply and decrim.’ and ‘Talking about overdose could save a life.’

Purple bracelets with the words ‘time to remember. time to act’ were distributed, and many who participated wore purple shirts as well – a colour symbolizing awareness of overdose and its effects; the loss of a loved one; and support to those grieving.

The quiet, reflective march, organized by members of the White Rock South Surrey Overdose Response Community Action Team, was about “inviting the community to just take a moment to bring awareness,” Sources Community Resource Centre’s manager of counselling and substance use George Passmore told Peace Arch News last week, in promoting the event.

It was also hoped to encourage conversations that don’t stigmatize a drug-related death or the struggle with addiction, and promote knowledge of White Rock’s opioid agonist treatment (OAT) clinic.

READ MORE: Opioid addiction treatment clinic opens in White Rock

The clinic, which opened in December at 15521 Russell Ave., provides doctor-referred opioid addicts with medications such as methadone and Suboxone, to help manage the symptoms of cravings and withdrawal.

Passmore told PAN the clinic is a positive step in tackling the crisis, and already has “at least 75” patients.

“I think there are good things happening that are making a difference,” he said.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Holding a photo of her son, Zachary, who died in a recovery house, Maggie Plett receives a hug from Cole Izsak. The South Surrey mother took part in a Wednesday afternoon march to raise awareness of the overdose crisis. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Overdose-awareness march participants gather for a group photo outside White Rock City Hall before setting off Wednesday afternoon. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Placards bearing statements such as this one – ‘No more stigma, No more shame’ – were carried, along with photos of loved ones lost to overdose, during Wednesday’s march. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Maggie Plett (left), whose son Zachary died of a fentanyl overdose at a Step by Step Recovery House in December, and her sisters Wendy Martinsen and Ilona Carroll, carry a photo of the 21-year-old on Wednesday’s march. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Ilona Carroll holds a photo of her nephew Zachary Plett at the turnaround point for Wednesday’s overdose awareness walk. Plett died in December of a fentanyl overdose. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Just Posted

Man charged in Surrey’s torched-SUV murder case gets bail hearing

Harjot Singh Deo in B.C. Supreme Court this week

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say Daniel Froehlich has been found and ‘is safe’

Surrey RCMP say 15-year-old boy had been missing since 10 p.m. on Sept. 10

Health minister hints that location for new Surrey hospital has been found

Minister Adrian Dix says an announcement can be expected before the end of the year

Surrey’s new doc-film series launches with ‘Because We Are Girls’ story of sexual abuse

‘If it goes as well as we hope, we plan to hold a film series every year,’ curator Neil Scott says

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak at Surrey environment, business awards luncheon today

His anti-vaxxer stance has caused controversy, but SBOT says he’s here to speak about environment

VIDEO: Drone footage documents work to free salmon at Big Bar landslide

Video shows crews working to remove rocks and wood, and transporting salmon by helicopter

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Petition to rename park after teen overdose victim to get hearing

With 3,500 signatures so far, organizer is thinking of closing down online campaign

Police investigate after intoxicated teens clash with security at B.C. fair

18-year-old woman arrested and RCMP looking at possible assault in Victoria-area fall fair incident

Boy overdosed on illicit anti-anxiety drug found on Kelowna classroom floor, RCMP say

Noah Mills, 8, ingested a pink powdery substance off his Kelowna classroom floor

BC SPCA investigating after three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

Psychiatric assessment ordered for man accused in Salmon Arm church shooting

Lawyer tells court accused was diagnosed with psychosis hours after his arrest

Winnipeg student, killed in bus crash, remembered as passionate, kind

University of Victoria student Emma Machado, 18, was killed in the bus crash near Bamfield on Friday

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Most Read

l -->