On March 27th from 9 am to 12:30 pm the United Way, Safe n Sound and Public Health will be at the Owen Sound Farmer’s Market to highlight the growing overdose crisis in the City of Owen Sound.

The public is invited to take a carnation, walk the block around the 8th and 9th street bridges and then drop the flower into the river, to symbolize the loss of those who have died, gone permanently from our community. Donations are being accepted.

Gelja Sheardown will attend as she marks the 1 year anniversary of the fatal overdose death of her husband Barrett Warwick. “He worked 7 days a week, he was a wonderful father, he was a wonderful husband and then he was gone” Sheardown reflects.

“With over 20 overdose deaths during the pandemic, we need to mourn and we need to act and act swiftly,” offers Toni McGregor Executive Director of Safe n Sound. Over the past 9 months Safe n Sound has disposed of over 33 000 sharps through a Sharps Disposal Program.

“When Gelja approached us, wanting to tell her story, tell Barrett’s story, we knew we could offer the whole community an opportunity to mourn and grieve these losses.” United Way Executive Director Francesca Dobbyn explains.

The Grey Bruce Health Unit will also be in attendance with Naloxone kits and information for the community to have a concrete understanding of the current Opioid Epidemic here in Grey Bruce, and to understand what has been done to date on the matter.

“I want to congratulate Gelja for coming forward with her story. Just doing that alone has saved someone’s life. Open conversations like this, along with kindness, and understanding will be a main contributing factor to help manage the Opioid Epidemic, says Ian Reich, Harm Reduction Manager at the Grey Bruce Health Unit.

“We must all be grounded in the understanding that addiction and mental health do not need to be a hidden issue, rather one that we, as a community, wrap our arms around and embrace those struggling with kindness and empathy to make sure they understand; we care, and we are here for you, and it is safe to come forward.

source: media release, United Way, Public Health, Safe n' Sound