North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Candlelight vigil focuses on overdose awareness

Public invited to Aug. 31 event remembering those lost, struggling with opioid addiction


August 30, 2017 | View PDF

In 2016, Snohomish County lost over 90 people to an opioid overdose. The tragedy of overdose is far too frequent, but is ultimately preventable. Overdose prevention, education and recognition play a crucial role in saving lives.

To commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day, and to honor their sons Corey Lee and Spencer Warfield, the Lee and Warfield families invite the community to a candlelight vigil. “A Night to Remember, A Time to Act” will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31 at Thornton A. Sullivan Park located at 11400 Silver Lake Road in Everett. Attendees are welcome to bring chairs or blankets, and free candles will be available at the event.

“We wanted to put a face to those loved ones lost to an overdose,” said Debbie Warfield, whose son Spencer lost his battle with addiction in October 2012. “We do not want another family to have to live through that devastation, so we need to focus on changing the stigma surrounding addiction and ensure science-based help is available for those currently struggling.” 

In addition to bringing the community together, the event will also feature a short program hosted by State Rep. Strom Peterson. The Lee and Warfield families will share their stories of loss and hope, followed by remarks from U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman and others.

“What these families have endured and witnessed is unfortunately becoming all too common in Snohomish County,” said Jefferson Ketchel, interim administrator for the Snohomish Health District. “We thank the Lee and Warfield families for bringing the vigil together, and we’re honored to join our partners in supporting them for this important event.”

International Overdose Awareness Day was started in 2001, and celebrated on August 31 every year since, as a way to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or suffered permanent injury as a result of drug overdose


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