EVERETT, Wash. — Thousands in Snohomish County struggle with opioid use disorder, and too many are lost to overdose. More than 100 people in Snohomish County died of overdoses in 2018.
Overdose is preventable and recovery is possible. Education and treatment play a crucial role in reducing stigma and saving lives.
Two upcoming events are aimed at providing people with information and resources about opioids. Another shared goal of the events is to reduce stigma around opioid-related deaths.
On August 31, which is International Overdose Awareness Day, the Snohomish Health District is hosting Overdose Prevention Night at the Everett AquaSox game. The event is supported by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention grant through the Washington State Department of Health.
The Aquasox will play the Vancouver Canadians. Along with special messages during the game, the concourse will feature tables with information about opioids and resources in Snohomish County. The information includes the “10 Things to Know About Opioids” campaign developed by the Snohomish County Opioid Response Multi-Agency Coordination “MAC” Group. Attendees will be invited to answer questions to be entered into a raffle for prizes from the AquaSox and Funko.
The game is at Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium, 3802 Broadway. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the first pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Everett AquaSox box office, or online at https://bit.ly/2PknDlQ. A fireworks show is scheduled after the game.
International Overdose Awareness Day began in 2001 to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma around drug-related deaths. It also acknowledges grief felt by families and friends, and offers a chance to remember those who have died or suffered permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.
The AquaSox game isn’t the only upcoming event focused on overdose prevention and education.
In memory of their sons Corey Lee and Spencer Warfield, the Lee and Warfield families have invited the community to a vigil and resource fair on September 5. The 3rd annual “A Night to Remember, A Time to Act” will be held at the Snohomish County Campus, 3000 Rockefeller Avenue in Everett. The event begins with a resource fair inside from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
At 7:30 p.m., the program moves to the outdoor plaza for speakers and a candlelight vigil. Participants can bring photographs (5x7 or similar) of loved ones who have overdosed or otherwise been impacted by drug use.
Speakers include representatives from Grief Recovery After Substance Passing (GRASP), AIDS Outreach Project/Snohomish County Syringe Exchange, HOPE Movement/Hope Soldiers, and the Snohomish Health District. Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers and Sheriff Ty Trenary also are scheduled to speak.
The Lee and Warfield families started the annual vigil in 2017.
“After losing our beloved sons, we came together to honor them and all who have been touched by an overdose with a resource fair and a candlelight vigil,” said Cathi Lee and Debbie Warfield. “This year we are focusing on recovery and harm reduction. These are things we were not aware of during our struggles.”
Performing at both the AquaSox game and during the vigil is Snohomish County band Superfekta. Once known as the “Party Boys of Rock”, these rockers have evolved into a band with a message, while growing into a grassroots posterchild for overcoming personal adversity. Besting addiction through help from the community, they arm themselves with songs of hope while giving back to the support group that became their safety net.
For more information on efforts being done through the Snohomish County Opioid Response MAC Group, please go to www.snohomishoverdoseprevention.com. This website and accompanying social media accounts were developed to be a one-stop shop for resources. Whether someone is trying to understand the problem, prevent addiction, or save a life, this is a place to find information for that first next step.