This past week, you may have noticed a few extra black balloons in the sky (or at least on the news sites). That’s because a special nationwide tribute was held to honor those who have lost their lives to an opioid addiction. On Wednesday March 6, Black Balloon Day officially took flight and hundreds of helium-filled symbols were released to increase awareness about the epidemic.
Several local leaders took part in citywide events. Over in Lorain County, Ohio (which happens to be one of the crisis’ hardest hit regions) Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board executive director Elaine Georgas made an impassioned speech about the damage these dependencies have caused.
“Today is the day to come together to understand that each of us has a role to save lives, particularly during this opioid epidemic,” she explained before releasing her balloon. “Addiction needs to be treated as a chronic disease that attacks the mind. And like a disease, people must factor in the individual and mental aspects of each case to ensure a healthy recovery.”
Participants at the events placed special pictures and messages on the strings of their black balloons before they were released. As another Pennsylvania organizer explained, everything was done to convey a clear message.
“The black is an easy way to signify mourning and loss,” representative Patrick Murray explained at the PA gathering. “Fourteen years ago, my brother Christopher Murray died from an opioid overdose. I struggled with how to cope with it, how to come to terms with it.”
The initiative also picked up a lot of momentum on social media. Sites like Instagram, in particular, were flooded with pictures and hashtags related to the movement. Some used it as an opportunity to celebrate their sobriety, such as San Francisco’s @slayer_for_breakfast (who received more than 600 likes).
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this milestone xox for more information about #blackballoonday & overdose awareness feel free to visit my post before this one. let’s share our truths with a deep understanding of its importance: for stigma isolates & kills but our shared experience connects & saves. #recoverybirthday #cleanandserene #sober #cleanandsober #soberlife #drugfree #familyadventures #familyvacation #bringthekids #showthemtheworld #couplegoals #marriedlife #ourcandidlife #toddlermom #sobermom #mother #motherhood #momswithcameras #makemoments #thehappynow #12steps #workthesteps #justfortoday #odaat #wedorecover
While others used #BlackBalloonDay to pay tribute to lost loved ones.
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The most viral image, however, is below, which was shared by hundreds of accounts and signified the somber effect of this ugly epidemic.
If you or someone you love is battling an opioid addiction, please let us help before the situation turns grim.