Philadelphia lost 1,150 people to drug-related overdose deaths last year and, across the nation, overdoses jumped 42 percent in May 2020 alone. Nearly 130 people per day die of opioid-related drug overdoses in the United States each year.
In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, the lives lost to drug addiction and overdose will be commemorated individually in a special voluntary ceremony at 3 PM on August 31 by over 200 staff members and 160 patients at the Devon, Pennsylvania campus of Recovery Centers of America.
RCA Devon patients who choose to participate will wear purple ribbons and staff will wear purple clothing to signify a unified voice for lives lost to drug overdose and addiction. There will be a tree lit with small purple string lights in the courtyard at the Devon RCA campus and patients will be able to hang a purple heart on the tree with the name of someone struggling with addiction or someone they have lost to an overdose.
“This is personal to our patients and staff. We all know someone who has died from the disease of addiction. Drug overdoses were already at epidemic levels before the pandemic, and now we are seeing people with addiction really struggling with social distancing restrictions. Additional lives are being lost as the COVID and addiction crises continue,” said Steve Wicke, CEO of RCA at Devon.