Every year people across the globe gather to remember friends and family members who have passed away from a substance overdose. This year, Gaston County will join the millions of voices globally advocating for greater awareness, while remembering those who are no longer with us.
Local parents and event sponsors, Nazrul and Tammy Chowdhury lost their son, Austin, to an opioid overdose in 2017. When asked why it was important to host a remembrance event, they said it’s simple. “our loved one's lives mattered and must not be forgotten.”
Recent statistics in Gaston County show a sharp increase in opioid related overdoses and deaths as well as other substances with similar increases since the beginning of COVID.
In response, an impressive group of physical and mental health professionals, substance use and disorder treatment facilities, advocacy groups, local governments, public health and educational service providers came together to organize “An evening of Remembrance...An evening of hope.”
Gaston County Police Chief and Gaston Controlled Substances Coalition Chairman, Joe Ramey, recently shared this startling statistic, “Thus far in 2022, Reported fatal overdoses for the County Police Department are 19 compared to six for last year. That is a 216.7% increase.”
The public event will be held on 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the Rotary Pavilion in downtown Gastonia.
Those who wish to share a photograph of their loved one or a written memory on paper are encouraged to bring those items to the event to be placed on a memory board.
Professional information will also be available as well as trained grief counselors for those who may need it. It truly will be an evening of personal remembrance and of hope for the future.
Robert Kellogg is a member of Gastonia City Council.
This article originally appeared on The Gaston Gazette: Gaston County remembers those lost to opioid epidemic