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Spectrum to highlight overdose awareness

West Seneca Bee

August 24, 2023


Spectrum Health and nurse Kristina Moore are bringing awareness to West Seneca and the broader Buffalo area of International Overdose Awareness Day, which is Aug. 31.

Spectrum Health is hosting its third annual “Not One More” event as an opportunity for members of the community to stand together to end overdoses. The event will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30, at Veterans Memorial Park in West Seneca (at 1250 Union Road behind Town Hall).

This year, Moore is creating a “We Remember Them” banner and encourages community members to contribute.

“We’re trying to incorporate the community and bring people together who had lost people to opioid overdose in the past,” Moore said. “We decided that this banner would be something for people to bring pictures to, or even just varying memories that they wanted to write on the banner.”

Moore said she hopes the banner will show people in the community that there are other individuals who go through the same things and who understand those feelings of loss.

“It kind of gives the families that sense of community, especially considering the fact that overdose death is still a stigmatized thing,” she said.

Community members are welcome to bring photos and various pieces of memorabilia. Colorful Sharpies will be provided, and individuals can leave messages about their family and their loved ones who were lost.

The banner will be on display at the community center in front of the library during Narcan training and will hang in the West Seneca Community Center atrium during September.

At the free and family-friendly event, there will be two musical performances to make the evening a celebration of life. Grace Stumberg and Tina Marie Williams will open the event at 4 p.m. They are local artists who have been performing for many years. Then the Patti Parks Band will perform at 5:30 p.m. Parks, a blues singer, is the founder of Nursin’ Blues, a music therapy program that helps high-risk youth cope with their emotions as they recover from drug addiction. She’s also the mom of a young man who lost his life to a drug overdose in 2019.

Dancers from the METTS Dance Studio will also perform at the event. There will be various family activities, such as the “Imagination Playground” from the Explore and More – The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum; “Y on the Fly” from the YMCA Buffalo Niagara; the Healthy Cruiser from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY; and face painting by dancers from the METTS Dance Studio in West Seneca.

Representatives from local agencies will also be on hand with resources and information for individuals who are interested.

“I want the community to not be afraid to talk about overdose and the fact that we’ve lost our friends and family to it. There’s a lot of stigma associated with people being lost to opioid overdose,” Moore said. “I think it’s time that we start talking about it and making sure that we reach out to our friends and family that we have and know that there is a bigger community of people there for us.” Moore encourages people to participate in events like Narcan training to bring awareness and learn “how to prevent these sort of losses in the future.”

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