BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – Grieving families from across the nation are joining Truth Pharm this weekend to memorialize their lost loved ones, raise awareness for substance abuse related deaths, and demand policy change.

The Second Annual National Trail of Truth is heading to Washinton D.C. on September 23. Beginning at 11 a.m. with the opening of the National Memorial Cemetary, attendees will be able to participate in a full day of activities with speakers, remembrance events, and a live performance art piece. Participants will conclude the day with a memorial march as they head to the U.S. Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services to have their voices heard. The event is orchestrated by Truth Pharm and will feature attendees from 40 different states as well as 94 partner organizations from around the nation who will provide a safe place for families to mourn, advocate for policy change, and work to educate the public on substance abuse and harm reduction.

The National Trail of Truth will be creating an arts installation of over 2,100 memorial tombstones. The tombstones were made by participants from across the nation as part of Truth Pharm’s National Memorial Cemetery for Substance Use Related Deaths. The goal of the National Trail of Truth is to create the “AIDs Quilt moment” of the overdose epidemic. Organizers say the piece is meant to be beautiful and devastating.

Dr. Stephen Lloyd, the real-life physician depicted in “Dopesick” by Michael Keaton, will be speaking at the event. Lloyd’s journey of prescribing medications and substances, becoming addicted himself, recovering, and now working to reduce overdose deaths has been featured in The New York Times, Vox, the Today Show and other national media outlets. Other speakers include Robert Kent, a former member of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Counsel and Kassandra Frederique, the Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance whose advocacy and passion has swayed state and federal drug policy. Individuals and family members directly impacted by substance abuse will also be included. Alexis Pleus, Founder and Executive Director of Truth Pharm is set to emcee the event.

“It is long past time that we come together to raise our voices to end the senseless
deaths due to substance use. The voices of grieving families need to be heard, every
overdose and death is a policy failure,” said Pleus.

The Trail of Truth has the following six goals:

  • To beautifully memorialize lost loved ones.
  • To elevate the issue of deaths and harms due to substance use at the
    National level.
  • To ensure every person in America has immediate access to treatment.
  • To end the discrimination in medical care towards people who use
    substances or suffer from Substance Use Disorder.
  • To expand overdose recognition and response education along with
    increasing access to Naloxone and Narcan.
  • To demand the responsible and transparent spending of the Opioid
    Settlement funds nationwide

Trail of Truth started in Binghamton seven years ago as a way to bring awareness to substance abuse related deaths while connecting grieving community members. The march became a national event in 2022 and has grown substantially. Not only does the National Trail of Truth serve as a way to honor those lost to addiction, it demands change from lawmakers to do their part in reducing the growing number of deaths related to the opioid and overdose epidemic.

Truth Pharm is an advocacy organization and community space. Differing from other organizations, Truth Pharm isn’t focused on anti-drug efforts, but rather support, harm reduction, and education. The group is committed to reducing harm in active drug use, changing the justice system to educate the public, addressing inequalities in care, and reducing the stigma around substance abuse. The group advocates to end the drug war while supporting medical treatments, increased funding, and non-discriminatory policies.

For more information on the National Trail of Truth, visit To find out more about Truth Pharm and their local events, check out