Delaware County Councilman Kevin Madden joined state Sens. John Kane and Tim Kearney, U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, and Delaware County District Attorney’s Office‘s Jack Stollsteimer in hosting a candlelight vigil Tuesday in honor of National Overdose Awareness Day.

Attendees mourned the loss of thousands of friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, and children who died of a drug overdose.

The overdose epidemic is a public health crisis that has grown worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some turned to self-medication as they battled depression and isolation, and many struggled to receive necessary treatment and support. More than 93,000 people died of a drug overdose in the U.S. last year, which was a record number and a rise of nearly 30 percent from 2019, according to the CDC.

The vigil offered a chance to reflect on the magnitude of the crisis while remembering the lives that were lost.

While drug overdose is frequent in today’s world, but it is important to remember that overdose is preventable. This is not a lost cause. Every day the county staff and grassroots organizations work to raise awareness, prevent drug use, and foster recovery.

Many of those who work with grassroots prevention organizations have lost a loved one to an overdose. The passion and dedication they put into their work to raise awareness about prevention is a tribute to their loved ones. They are committed to saving lives and sparing someone from the immense grief they have suffered. Council commends them. They are working to save lives in honor of the people who they lost.

Delaware Countians raised a candle during the event in memory of those who are no longer with us and pat tribute to them by striving every day to prevent more of our community members from going down that same path.