Contributed photo Purple bracelets symbolizing awareness of overdose and its effects will be handed out at Wednesday’s Awareness March in White Rock.

Overdose awareness march planned for White Rock

Aug. 28 event a part of International Overdose Awareness Day

A march to raise awareness of the overdose crisis and remember those lost to it is set for next Wednesday (Aug. 28) in White Rock.

Organized by members of the White Rock South Surrey Overdose Response Community Action Team, the march is to pace off from White Rock City Hall at 4:30 p.m. and follow an out-and-back route past Five Corners and along Johnston Road to the McDonald’s parking lot at 18 Avenue and 152 Street.

The turn-around point, White Rock counsellor Jennifer Hammersmark noted, was chosen “very intentionally.”

“Because that’s where a lot of the activity is,” she explained, referring to illicit drug use.

Sources Community Resource Centre’s manager of counselling and substance use George Passmore agreed the parking lot has a reputation as “a bit of a hot spot.”

“We’ve long-known that that was kind of an area in the community where a lot of dealing would go on, and using,” Passmore said.

Still, the majority of overdoses are continuing to happen in private homes, he said.

And, the issue remains “the number-one way people die under the age of 50.”

While Passmore didn’t have statistics specific to White Rock, he said the local community has not been immune to the crisis. He pointed to two deaths of young men that occurred just three weeks apart late last year.

And in June 2018, Peace Arch News reported on the overdose deaths of two other young adults; Cheyenne Sekura and Brodie Clements.

READ MORE: Overdose crisis is ‘hitting good kids’

READ MORE: South Surrey overdose victim ‘had so much going for him’

READ MORE: ‘My friends aren’t going to sell me stuff to hurt me’: South Surrey overdose victim

The latter pair both died at home, exactly two months apart, and their families shared their stories through PAN in an effort to prevent others from having to endure similar heartache.

Passmore said despite indications that this year’s deaths due to overdose are down 30 per cent from last year, he said more awareness is still needed, along with more conversations that don’t stigmatize a drug-related death or the struggle with addiction.

He said Wednesday’s march is “inviting the community to just take a moment to bring awareness.”

Planned as part of International Overdose Awareness Day (Aug. 31) activities, participants are encouraged to bring a photo of a loved one to carry with them, and Hammersmark said purple bracelets with the words ‘time to remember. time to act’ will also be distributed.

Training will also be offered on the use of overdose-reversing naloxone kits.

For more information, email Hammersmark at info@counsellinggroup.co

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