San Luis Obispo County hosted its 4th annual International Overdose Awareness Day event on Wednesday.
The SLO County Overdose Awareness and SLO Opioid Safety Coalition partnered for the local event, held at Mitchell Park.
The free event included a resource fair, with information on how to prevent an overdose.
Also at the event was overdose prevention training, free NARCAN distribution, and a candle lighting ceremony to honor loved ones lost to overdose.
“It is about remembering those that we have lost but it's also an opportunity to learn and get together and talk about the problem in our community. Learn ways of responding to it and ending the stigma and the shame,” said Kim Lacey, the SLO Overdose Awareness Day event founder.
Organizers also built a heart at the center of the event, with purple flags representing the 123 county residents who died of an overdose last year.
That number is up 40% from 2020 and 132% from 2019.
Three out of four overdoses in 2021 involved opioids.