Though you may not realize it, March is actually quite significant to the recovery community. Every year on the sixth of this month, thousands across the country participate in a movement known as Black Balloon Day. Meant to honor those who have succumbed to fatal overdoses, it is celebrated with events, social media conversations and community awareness campaigns; all in the hope of reducing the amount of American drug addictions.
Black Balloon Day’s origins trace back to 2015 and one overdose, in particular, which sparked the movement. On March 6th of that year, father of four Greg Tremblay fatally OD’d, leaving a gaping hole in his small Massachusetts community. Just 38 years old, he represented the true ravages of the country’s addiction crisis. On the surface, he was a happy, stable family man. But a man who ultimately let his demons get the best of him.
Tremblay’s family wanted to ensure their loved one did not die in vain, so they began honoring his memory with black balloons. Organically, the movement grew rather quickly; with social media hashtags (#BlackBalloonDay), local news stories and ultimately an entire campaign that continues to come together every March.
In 2020, the event continues to garner nationwide acclaim. Black Balloon Day is unique in that it generates most of its attention within small communities. In upstate New York, for example, local businesses began embracing it this year. As referenced in the ABC story below, barber shops, clothing outlets, restaurants and more displayed black balloons outside of their establishments to recognize those they’ve lost.
In other parts of the country, advocates used March 6th to visit the offices of local elected officials. The hope was to bring more awareness to the deadly opioid crisis and push for more legislative changes to protect those battling addictions. Loved ones of those who passed also used the opportunity to share the life stories of friends and family members who overdosed.
On digital sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the topic continues to resonate. Many using the #BlackBalloonDay hashtag are publishing pictures and tributes to those who have died from overdoses. These offer a very real and personal touch, working as an outlet to express sorrow and build awareness.
We, of course, fully support this movement and believe that overdose awareness should continue throughout the year. We are losing way too many people to addiction; so let their voices be heard.