NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) – Residents, community leaders and elected officials in New Bedford came together Tuesday to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day.
The event, held outside city hall, remembered local lives lost to overdose deaths, raised awareness and reduced stigma attached to drug overdoses and addiction.
New Bedford Jon Mitchell said the annual event holds more importance this year given the impacts the Coronavirus Pandemic has had on people’s mental health.
“Our attention has been consumed with other things, another threat in public health," he said.
Local Reverend David Lima said it is crucial to battle the shame and the stigma that “prevents so many from getting the help they need."
The biggest goal for Max Bethany was to raise awareness. He was holding a sign remembering his little brother Caleb, who died of an overdose four years ago.
“He was my only brother,” Bethany said. “I feel like I contributed to his death because I’ve been an addict since I was a kid.”
The group marched from city hall to a vigil held near the waterfront.