METHUEN – Chief Joseph Solomon announces that the Methuen Police Department is participating in Black Balloon Day this weekend to honor the lives that have been lost to opioid addiction.
The event recognizes all who have been impacted by the current drug epidemic. It originated from Peabody residents Diane and Lauren Hurley, who lost a family member to a heroin overdose on March 6, 2015.
For the one-year anniversary of their loved one's death on Sunday, the Hurleys will hang a black balloon outside their home. Anyone who has been affected by the drug epidemic is encouraged to do the same, take a picture and then post it on social media with the #blackballoonday.
In 2015, Methuen had 133 overdoses, and two of the victims died. To date in 2016, there have been 29 overdoses in the city, with one related death. This weekend, the police department will tie a black balloon outside the station.
"No one has been untouched by the current opioid epidemic," Chief Solomon said. "Whether you are recovering from the disease of addiction, lost a loved one to an overdose, or know someone who has been affected by drug abuse, we encourage you to participate. Together, as a community, we will work to ensure no more lives are lost."
Police were notified of Black Balloon Day through the Methuen Community Addiction Resource Engagement Services (C.A.R.E.S). The Initiative began in October 2015 in response to the public health crisis surrounding opioids. Mayor Stephen Zanni and Chief Solomon hired two Community Engagement Specialists, Jennifer Burns and Jacquelyn Ingersoll, to spearhead the initiative by providing recovery resources, education to the community and outreach to high risk populations.
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