International Overdose Awareness Day to be observed in Schuylkill County

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Aug. 29—This year to date, 63 people have died of drug-related causes in Schuylkill County.

County Coroner Dr. David J. Moylan III said Sunday that preliminary toxicology results show most of those people had fentanyl in their systems.

Additional information was not available.

"It's an ongoing critical problem for our county," Moylan said.

Wednesday is International Overdose Awareness Day, and county residents can remember those where were lost.

In Tamaqua, there will be a gathering from 5 to 7 p.m. in Depot Square in observance of the day.

Safer Streets for Tamaqua's Little Feet, which John and Tammy Sienkiewicz founded after their daughter Alexandria "Alex" Sienkiewicz, 23, died in 2016 of a fentanyl overdose, is sponsoring the event.

Safer Streets, New Roots Recovery Center and Hope & Coffee encourage people to attend.

"It's the worst thing that happens to parents: burying your child," Tammy Sienkiewicz said. "The second worst thing is your child being forgotten."

"Us parents who lost a child to substance use disorder never want another parent to be in ... (our) shoes."

Participants are encouraged to hang a ribbon on a tree in memory of a loved one and to share memories.

On Wednesday, Coaldale resident Tammy Kline will speak about her daughter, who died of a drug overdose in 2021.

Information will also be available for those seeking help for themselves or others.

Tammy Sienkiewicz said the event is to "reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths and acknowledge the grief felt by family and friends."

Last year, between 50 to 75 people attended, she said.

Contact the writer: amarchiano@republicanherald.com; 570-628-6023