International Overdose Awareness Day Celebrating Life in Fargo

These 144 pairs of shoes represent the amount of people that die from this disease every day in the United States

FARGO, ND — ReGroup is honoring International Overdose Awareness Day by celebrating life.

People are participating in rallies all over the country and the Fed Up Rally! is happening here in Fargo.

A bell rings every ten minutes to signify another person who has died from opioids and prescription drugs.

“The struggle is real. Addiction is a struggle,” said Sarah Chatelain-Gress, a speaker at the rally.

Nearly 150 pairs of shoes represent the amount of people that die from this disease every day in the United States.

ReGroup is celebrating lives lost from drug use by sharing stories of those who are survivors…and those who didn’t make it.

“We celebrate their lives because we know that they were much more than that addiction,” said Becki Lawler, a ReGroup certified recovery coach.

Recovering addicts and family members gathered in Island Park to talk about their journeys in finding light at the end of the tunnel.

“In sharing your story, it allows somebody else who may be feeling really alone and abandoned right now know that they aren’t and that they’re capable of finding a better way to live,” Chatelain-Gress said.

International Overdose Awareness Day is about providing support and showing the world that this disease is not an identity.

“The community sees I am a productive citizen, I am contributing, I am doing things, I am making a difference and that is what is going to change the stigma,” Lawler said.

The annual Fed Up Rally! also gives people a chance to embrace who they are.

“I think it is absolutely essential to be open with it, to be honest with it, to let your community know,” Lawler said. “When we do the parades, we walk right down Main Street, words and all. I’m in recovery and I’m proud and it’s amazing.”

People took to the streets in a Walk of Remembrance to Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, where the rally concluded.

The group releases bubbles and rose petals into the air to remember their loved ones they’ve lost from this disease.

The ceremony also gave people a chance to grieve with others who understand the pain addiction can carry.

“You’re not alone when it comes to losing people, really important people and that this disease is a thief and it robs you of such wonderful gifts in this world,” Chatelain-Gress said.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that more than two million people are struggling with opioid addiction in the U.S.

Categories: Community, Health, Local News, News Landing Page, North Dakota News