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Black Balloon Day in Remembrance of Lives Lost to Opioid Disease

March 6, 2018

Tuesday, the City of Buckhannon, Opportunity House, and Health Department joined community members to remember those who have fallen to the opioid disease, to support those who continue to battle it, and to acknowledge the family and friends who have lost loved ones or are affected by the disease.

Mayor’s Remarks:

Welcome everyone to our City of Buckhannon’s first participation in “Black Balloon Day.”  Today, we remember all of the members of our community who we have lost to drug addiction, while continuing to express our hopes for those who carry on their battle every day, while offering support to those who aid their recoveries.

          Black Balloon Day has become a national and international event, bringing awareness to overdose deaths. As with many things with the opioid epidemic, Black Balloon Day began with a family’s’ loss. Diane and Lauren Hurley began Black Balloon Day in remembrance of Greg Tremblay. Tremblay, a father of four, is the son-in-law of Diane and brother-in-law of Lauren and died of an overdose when he was 38 years old on March 6, 2015.

          Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with 63,600 lethal drug overdoses in 2016 alone. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 42,000+ overdose deaths related to prescription opioids and illicit opioids (heroin and illicit fentanyl).

          I encourage all citizens to check out the website:  We truly are all in THIS… together.  I’d ask that Matt Kerner, executive director of Opportunity House offer his comments, to be followed by Sue McKisic, director of our County Health Department & who also serves as our municipal health officer.

Thanks for attending our City’s first participation in Black Balloon Day.  Please learn more about the struggle of so many.

Grief resources:

West Virginia Family Grief Center