Madison community reflects on National Overdose Awareness day

Families came out to honor those impacted by substance use.
Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 7:47 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison community recognized National Overdose Awareness Day in Olbrich Park Wednesday.

People grieved, reflected, and created personal signs serving as a tribute to the loved ones they’ve lost.

“We just wanted the community to know that we’re here for them,” peer specialist program supervisor for Safe Communities, Kristina Vaccaro, said. “I’m a part of that community. I have been impacted. I’m a person of long-term recovery from opioids and we have lost so many of our community members.”

According to Public Health Madison Dane County, the number of people who died of a drug overdose between 2018 and 2020 was 43% higher than the number of people who died between 2014 and 2016.

Skye Boughman, Arc Outpatient Services clinical supervisor, said more needs to be done to address the number of fatal overdoses in the area.

“I’ve been in this field for 18, almost 20 years now, in between those… we’ve been making incremental steps the whole time and we have the highest number of fatal overdoses ever,” Boughman said.

Michelle Kullman, who lost her son to an accidental fentanyl overdose last November, urges anyone who is thinking about doing drugs to think again.

“I just want kids to know it is so not worth it,” Kullman said. “Whatever short term pleasure you can get from trying that drug, it is not worth the pain that it will cause down the road.”