Overdose Awareness Vigil adds Narcan training, activist/artist to lineup

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Flags wave on the lawn of the Walker Building in Marlborough before a past year’s overdose awareness vigil. Photo/Courtesy Kathy Leonard
Flags wave on the lawn of the Walker Building in Marlborough before a past year’s overdose awareness vigil.
(Photo/Courtesy Kathy Leonard)

MARLBOROUGH – The 2021 Opioid Overdose Awareness Vigil scheduled to take place outside Marlborough’s Walker Building on Aug. 31 has added free Narcan training and an appearance by artist Domenic Esposito to its lineup. 

Organizer and advocate Kathy Leonard will install flags recognizing each individual who died due to a drug overdose in Massachusetts in 2020. 

Her vigil will take place on Aug. 31 to mark International Overdose Awareness Day. Free Narcan training will run for one hour prior to the vigil from 6:15 p.m to 7:15 p.m., teaching attendees how to use what can be a lifesaving, overdose-reversing medication if administered quickly and effectively. 

Artist-activist Domenic Esposito, founder of the Opioid Spoon Project, assists Cheryl Juaire write the name of her son Corey Merrill, who died of a heroin overdose at age 23 in 2011.

Esposito, who will speak at the event, has earned national attention for placing massive opioid spoon sculptures on the doorsteps of those he deems to be major contributors to the opioid crisis. He will join keynote speaker Michael Blanchard, an inspirational photographer based in Martha’s Vineyard, who shares his recovery story to help others who struggle with substance use disorder and mental illness. 

Making the first stop on a multi-state tour, Domenic Esposito displays the opioid spoon he sculpted as protest art.