Drug awareness groups like Lake Zurich-based , and , based in Barrington, gathered friends and families at Roosevelt University in Schaumburg for a candlelight vigil to remember those who had died too young of drug overdoses.
The first-annual vigil, which coincides this week with International Overdose Awareness Day today, drew about 100 people to a grassy area in front of the college. Many carried portraits of their loved ones who had passed and others wore T-shirts to remember those who also died of overdoses whether it be from cocaine, heroin or prescription pills.
"People have courage to come out to decrease the stigma (of drug overdose)," said Kathie Kane-Willis, the head of the Illinois Consortium for Drug Policy, about the friend and families who came to the event.
One of the many drug awareness groups' goals that gathered at Roosevelt is to end the overdose epidemic by 2022, Kane-Willis said.
Groups like Take A Stand and Live4Lali were given Courage Awards for their committment to stamping out drug overdose. Also given awards were individual family members who had come forward to talk about their struggles with losing family members to overdoses.
After the candles were lit, friends and families spoke about those who had passed, saying their names, birthdays and the days that they had died.
Others spoke the names of those who were still alive but were struggling with ther addiction.