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Community Partners Host Awareness Events Honouring Lives Lost Due to Overdose

To remember those we have lost to drug poisoning and to support grieving loved ones. #WESEEYOU

Port Hope, ON (August 28, 2023) – The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR District Health Unit) would like to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) on Thursday, August 31, 2023, by acknowledging all of those who have lost their lives, and those who have been left behind, due to drug poisoning and promoting community events to raise awareness. 

International Overdose Awareness Day is an annual global event to end overdose, remember without stigma those who have died, and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind. Acknowledging the grief, raising awareness of the overdose crisis, and ending the stigma associated with overdose deaths is the focus of the following events taking place across the HKPR district, including Cobourg, Port Hope, Lindsay, and Haliburton.   
The 2023 theme ‘Recognizing those people who go unseen,’ honours the people whose lives have been altered by overdose. They are the family and friends grieving the loss of a loved one; workers in healthcare and support services extending strength and compassion; or spontaneous first responders who selflessly assume the role of lifesaver. 
“Every drug poisoning is someone’s loved one. Today, let’s take the time to remember the ones we’ve lost, the ones left behind, and those who are doing the critical work to help prevent more drug poisoning fatalities,” said Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health, and Chief Executive Officer for the HKPR District Health Unit.  
In collaboration with the John Howard Society of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton, Green Wood Coalition, Moms Stop the Harm, PARN and Ontario Network of People Who Use Drugs (ONPUD) please see the following IOAD community events that everyone is encouraged and welcome to attend.

IOAD Community Event Schedule 
Flag Raising, Memorial and Awareness Event and Candlelight Vigil in Cobourg 
Thursday, August 31, 2023 
Victoria Hall, 55 King Street West, Cobourg, ON 
1) Flag Raising at 10:45 a.m. 
2) Memorial and Awareness Event from 11-4 p.m. 
3) Candlelight Vigil at 8 p.m. 
Everyone is invited to submit a name and/or memory of a loved one to be read at the vigil by emailing  

Butterfly Release Ceremony in Lindsay 
Thursday, August 31, 2023 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 
Victoria Park, 210 Kent Street West, Lindsay, ON
An event to remember those lost to drug poisoning and to support grieving loved ones featuring live music, activities and a butterfly release ceremony at 2:30 p.m. #WESEEYOU 
For more information contact Natasha James by calling 705-340-0228 or emailing
International Overdose Awareness Day in Haliburton 
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Head Lake Park, 135 Maple Avenue, Haliburton, ON 
For more information contact Katlin Archibald by calling 705-559-3904 or emailing

Flag Lowering in Port Hope 
Thursday, August 31, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. 
Port Hope Police Service, 55 Fox Road, Port Hope, ON 
Everyone is welcome to attend the flag lowering ceremony and join in a moment of silence.


“Opioid overdose-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths continue to surge in the HKPR District Health Unit region. On behalf of all of us I would like to acknowledge the many lives lost and their grieving loved ones left behind. Let’s end the stigma and focus on remembering the person behind the statistic.” - Dr. Natalie Bocking, Medical Officer of Health, and Chief Executive Officer for the HKPR District Health Unit 

"This year's recognition on International Overdose Awareness Day is for those who are going unseen from losing folks to drug poisonings in our community. It is important that #weseeyou too! This is for loved ones left behind, first responders, health care workers and service agencies. On August 31st this year, we encourage you all to come out and help us honour those that are going unseen and for those we have lost to drug poisonings. Come on out to Victoria Park in Lindsay from 10am to 3pm with a butterfly release taking place at 2:30pm. Hope to see you there." Natasha James, Harm Reduction and Crisis Coordinator for the John Howard Society of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton

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