Parents Memorialize Lost Loved Ones with Events across the US to Commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day

GRASP/ Broken No More and Partner Organizations Host Events across the United States to Commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day;  Grieving Parents Memorialize Lost Loved Ones, Celebrate Advances in Overdose Prevention, and Call for Further Change

CALIFORNIA–(ENEWSPF)–August 26, 2016.  International Overdose Awareness Day is August 31st. On the 31st and in the days leading up to it, GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing)/ Broken No More and partnering organizations will convene rallies, vigils, and overdose prevention trainings across the United States in commemoration of International Overdose Awareness Day. From California to Vermont, parents and loved ones of those lost to an overdose are coming together to increase awareness of this epidemic and to prevent others from suffering the loss of their loved one.

In 2014, opioid related overdoses accounted for 28,647 deaths – an average of 78 per day. Overdoses from all drugs combined caused a total of 47,055 deaths in 2014 (129 per day on average). Each of these deaths were someone’s son or daughter. Their lives had meaning too, and their deaths may have been prevented if our drug policies were centered on health and safety instead of crime and punishment.

“There is a universal in this world. It is the love of a parent for their child,” said Denise Cullen, LCSW, Executive Director of GRASP/Broken No More. “This love has no limit. And as the child grows, becomes an adult, the love of a parent also grows. The loss of that child, the death of that child – the depth of a parent’s pain cannot be described.”

Denise Cullen lost her only child, her son, on August 5th, 2008. His name is Jeff. He is forever 27.

GRASP provides support, compassion, and solace for families and individuals who have lost a loved one due to substance use and overdose. With 130 chapters across the United States and Canada, GRASP provides a community of acceptance and understanding to more than 3,500 members affected by a substance related death.

Parents and loved ones from across the country are joining together and channeling their grief into activism. Their goal is to prevent other mothers or fathers from suffering the pain in which they live. International Overdose Awareness Day provides an opportunity for families to memorialize their lost loved ones and to advocate for change.  Broken No More and partnering organizations such as A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing) and Moms United to End the War on Drugs are promoting efforts to end the stigma of addictive illness and produce drug policies based on evidence, compassion, and dignity for those suffering with this illness and their families. Our sons and our daughters, our loved ones, they are dying. And each death is preventable.

“We will go on meeting, educating and holding vigils for our loved ones,” said Julia Negron, organizer of the Suncoast Harm Reduction Project. “We are tired of this waste of precious life.” Ms. Negron lost her sister to an overdose.

International Overdose Awareness Day, which was started by the Salvation Army in Australia in 2001, is an opportunity for people around the world to publicly mourn loved ones without guilt or shame. Many participating countries also use this day to send a strong message to current and former drug users that their lives are valued and that no one should ever die from a drug overdose.

To learn more about the advocacy efforts of the Drug Policy Alliance and Broken No More/GRASP click here

The public is invited to attend the events listed below.  To learn more about GRASP and Broken No More visit or

GRASP/ Broken No More & Partners 2015 International Overdose Awareness Day Events

Huntington Beach, CA

Date:  Sunday, August 28th

Time:  5:00pm – 7:00pm

Location: Huntington Beach Pier

Contact: Denise Cullen 714-865-7879

Gretchen Burns Bergman 619-670-1184

Oceanside, CA

Date: Wednesday, August 31st

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Location: Oceanside Pier

The Strand N.

Contact: Mike Robinson 817-676-1304 [email protected]

Denver, CO

Date:  Wednesday, August 31st

Time:  3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Location:  Harm Reduction Action Center (231 E. Colfax Ave.)

Contact:  [email protected]

Viera, FL

Date: Wednesday, August 31st.

Time: 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Location: Viera Regional Park
2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way

Contact: Dr. Vicki Barlow 321-241-4107

Davenport, IA/Rock Island, IL 

Quad Cities Overdose Awareness Walk

Date:  Saturday, August 27th

Time:  9:30 am

Location:  Lafayette Park


Carpentersville, IL

Date: Wednesday, August 31st

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Location: Carpentersville Village Hall/Police Station

1200 L. W. Besinger Dr.

Contact: Terri Dudar 847.428.4497

Peru, IL

Date: Saturday, August 27th

Time: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm

Location: Centennial Park

Contact: Lori Brown [email protected]

Gardner, MA

Date: Wednesday, August 31st

Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Location: Monument Park

Contact: Michelle L. Dunn 978-314-7889

Marlborough, MA

Date: Wednesday, August 31st

Time: 7:30 pm

Location: Frank D. Walker Building

255 Main St.

Contact: Kathy Leonard 978-875-0606 [email protected]

Poughkeepsie, New York

Date: Wednesday, August 31st

Time: 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Location: 61 Parker Avenue

Contact: Ginger Doulos, 845-559-9151

Homer City, PA

Date: Wednesday, August 31st

Time: 6:00 pm

Location: Homer City Fire Department,

45 W. Church St,

Contact: Karen McMillan 724-599-5584

North Charleston, SC

Date: Wednesday, August 31st

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Riverfront Park

1001 Everglades Ave

Contact: Joette Schulte 828-216-0562 [email protected]

Austin, TX

Date: Wednesday, August 31st

Time: 5:30pm-7:30pm

Location:  Steps of the State Capitol Building

Contact: Lisa Ramirez 361-876-5791 [email protected]

San Antonio, TX

Date: Wednesday, August 31st

Time: 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Location: Travis Park

301 E. Travis St.

Contact: Debra De La Garza   210-907-2660  [email protected]

Berryville, VA

Date:  Wednesday, August 31st

Time:  4:00pm – 8:00pm

Location: Rose Hill Park

Contact:  Lisa Wilkins 540-313-2484