OWEGO, NY- Black balloons are popping up around Tioga County today in memory of those who have died from drug overdoses.
The Tioga County ASAP Coalition is providing black helium balloons to businesses and individuals to display as a way to raise awareness of the consequences of substance use disorder.
The international event was started by the family of a 38-year-old Massachusetts man who died of an overdose on this day in 2015.
Coalition Project Director Christina Olevano says that despite a recent rise in the number of mixed drug overdose deaths in Tioga County, there has been great progress in raising awareness and reducing stigma.
“Over eighty local businesses in Tioga County wanting to be supportive of this event today, with Black Balloon Day, really shows how far we’ve come in opening the door to have conversations, reducing stigma, and showing families that have been affected by addiction and overdose that we stand here to support you,” she said.
The balloons were distributed in Owego and Waverly.
The Owego office also offered free Narcan kits and training today.