A candlelight vigil to raise awareness about addiction is planned for 7 p.m. Saturday in Atascadero.
The free event is open to the public and will be held on the steps of Atascadero’s City Administration Building at 6500 Palma Ave., adjacent to the Sunken Gardens. It’s being hosted by North County Connection, a nonprofit drug and alcohol addiction intervention organization in Atascadero.
Drug use among local youth has taken the spotlight in Atascadero in recent years, prompting the Atascadero Greyhound Foundation to form the Lighthouse program in 2012. The program is dedicated to helping youth overcome addiction.
The Atascadero Police Department has received 34 cases of drug related overdoses from people of all ages so far this year, compared to 11 such cases reported in 2010, according to the department.
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"I know as a sad reality that more and more of these OD cases result in fatalities than ever before," Sgt. Joe Allen said, noting that drug use throughout the United States is on the rise.
Atascadero's vigil is designed to “bring awareness and support for the family and friends who have lost their loved ones to the ravages of addiction and for those still caught in the downward spiral who have yet to find recovery,” according to promotional material for the event.
The evening will include guest speakers from North County Connection, Atascadero’s police and fire departments, Twin Cities Community Hospital‘s emergency room and the Kayla Peach Memorial Foundation. A candle-lighting ceremony will follow the talk. Attendees are encouraged to bring a picture of their deceased loved ones to post on the event’s memory board.
For more information, call Sue Warren at North County Connection at 462-8600.