HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The McShin Foundation hosted a Candlelight Vigil in honor of International Overdose Awareness day on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
According to a release from the organization, International Overdose Day is part of a larger international campaign to “end drug overdoses, remember without stigma those who have died and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.”
The vigil was hosted in the Hatcher Memorial Baptist Church at 6 p.m. Following the ceremony, participants were asked to lay their candles in front of the White Marker Project, a roadside display of white crosses representing the victims of fatal overdoses.
In a quarterly report released by the Virginia Department of Health, drug overdoses were shown to be the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia in 2021. Fatal drug overdoses claimed more lives than gun violence and motor vehicle-related deaths combined.
Flags across Virginia were ordered by Gov. Glenn Youngkin to be flown at half-staff for the duration of Wednesday in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day.