Local News

Overdose awareness vigil tonight in Cortland’s Courthouse Park


On today’s 20th International Overdose Awareness Day, a candlelight vigil is planned for 7 pm at Courthouse Park in the city of Cortland.

Hosting the event are Prevention Network of CNY, the 607 Healing Hearts Collaborative, and the federally-backed Healing Cortland initiative.

“As we mourn those who have been lost, we also strive to increase education about opioid overdose and strategies to save lives,” said Sara Watrous, project director of Healing Cortland.

Several speakers are lined up, some of whom have lost loved ones to opioid overdose themselves here in Cortland County.

Assemblywoman Anna Kelles (D-125) is one of those who will be in attendance to speak.

Following an hour-long vigil, a candle lighting ceremony is scheduled to remember friends and loved ones lost to overdose.

Volunteers have collected over 300 pairs of shoes, thanks to an outpouring of community support.

The goal was 256 shoes to commemorate the number of people lost nationwide to overdose everyday in 2020 — most related to opioids — according to the CDC. That’s a nearly 30% increase from 2019.

All collected shoes will be on display at the event, then donated to the Cortland County Community Action Program (CAPCO) for their “clothing closet.”

Large printouts containing 12 portraits of local families and/or individuals who have lost someone to overdose will also be shown. These are the culmination of an art project that involved three separate shoots done by photographer Zack Bolton.

To learn more, visit healingcortland.org.

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