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WAR Gathering At Center Lake Wednesday For Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day is Wednesday and a local group is coming together to bring more awareness and education to the public and to honor the lives lost to overdose.

According to information provided by Walking in Awareness and Recovery (WAR), approximately 2,554 Hoosiers died in 2021 due to overdose. Twenty of those were recorded in Kosciusko County.

WAR will be at Center Lake Park from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday for International Overdose Awareness Day.

Food will be provided with a free-will donation. There also will be a balloon release. “Heartbreaking and inspiring stories” will be shared to bring more light to this epidemic, the release states.

Help WAR honor your loved one by sending a photo to their Facebook page – WAR Walking in Awareness and Recovery – or email In the subject line put “Honor My Loved One.”

International Overdose Awareness Day was initiated in 2001 by Sally J. Finn at The Salvation Army in St. Kilda, Melbourne, according to the website

Since 2001, many community members, as well as government and non-government organizations, have held events to raise awareness and commemorate those who have been lost to drug overdose.

Since 2012, International Overdose Awareness Day has been coordinated by the not-for-profit Australian public health organization Penington Institute.

International Overdose Awareness Day is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.

The campaign raises awareness of overdose, which is one of the world’s worst public health crises, and stimulates action and discussion about evidence-based overdose prevention and drug policy, according to the website.

The campaign acknowledges the profound grief felt by families and friends whose loved ones have died or suffered permanent injury from a drug overdose.

International Overdose Awareness Day spreads the message about the tragedy of drug overdose death and that drug overdose is preventable.

The goals of International Overdose Awareness Day are:

• To provide an opportunity for people to publicly mourn loved ones in a safe environment, some for the first time without feeling guilt or shame.

• To include the greatest number of people in International Overdose Awareness Day events, and encourage non-denominational involvement.

• To give community members information about the issue of fatal and non-fatal overdose.

• To send a strong message to current and former people who use drugs that they are valued.

• To stimulate discussion about overdose prevention and drug policy.

• To provide basic information on the range of support services that are available.

• To prevent and reduce drug-related harm by supporting evidence-based policy and practice.

• To inform people around the world about the risk of overdose.