Candlelight Vigil Raises Overdose Awareness in Camden County

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(Gloucester Township, NJ) – Dozens of community members gathered last night for a candlelight vigil in remembrance of those we’ve lost to drug overdoses, and to raise awareness about the scourge of drug addiction and overdose throughout the country.

“Drug overdose is the number one cause of death for Americans under 50, and yet the feeling persists for many families that it could never happen to them,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. “Breaking the stigma surrounding addiction, making it something we can all talk about, and helping people to understand that help is available, that is the only way we will ever fight this terrible epidemic.”

Families were invited to submit the names and photos of their loved ones prior to the event to be shown as part of a remembrance slideshow. The slideshow, in the intimate setting of the vigil, provided a rare opportunity for families affected by loss to remember and celebrate their lost loved ones publicly. The photos also served as a stark reminder that drug addiction has become ubiquitous, affecting diverse communities in our area and across the nation.

The Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force uses numerous outreach opportunities throughout the year to increase awareness of prescription opiate and heroin abuse and addiction, and they assist in the creation of programs to help educate residents of the resources available to prevent and treat addiction.

“The Addiction Awareness Task Force is made up of students, parents, teachers, public health professionals, religious leaders, and individuals in law enforcement – as well as many others from varying professional fields and backgrounds,” Cappelli said. “There is not a single community to date which has escaped this deadly affliction. That’s why we remain focused on raising awareness and bringing together the entire region to reflect on what we can do for our families, friends, and neighbors to help them get help and get healthy.”

The Camden County Addiction Awareness Task Force, created by the Freeholder Board in 2014, maintains the website to help educate residents on the resources available to prevent and treat addiction. If you or a loved one needs help please call our 24/7 toll-free confidential hotline for addiction help at 877-266-8222 or call 911 in the event of an emergency.

The Camden County Office of Mental Health and Addiction is located in the Michael J. DiPiero Center for Human Services, 512 Lakeland Road in Gloucester Township.  You can reach them by phone at (856) 374-6361.