SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Events around the state will observe International Overdose Awareness Day next Wednesday, August 31.

The day recognizes those who have died from an overdose and acknowledges the grief of family and friends. The focus of the day and events is to provide support, education, and understanding of overdose deaths, which have become a public health crisis.

“Opioids and overdoses are community-wide problems that can impact anyone,” said Maren Wright Voss, USU Extension health and wellness professor. “For instance, if an elderly person accidentally takes an extra dose of pain medication, knowing how to administer Naloxone, a medicine that reverses an opioid overdose, could save their life.”

Voss said part of overdose prevention is understanding its need and raising awareness since Utah has been among the states with the highest overdose rates.

“A Light to Remember” will be held in 10 different locations around the state and will be a luminary celebration of remembrance for loved ones and community members.

Each event will feature a display of luminaries (including floating luminaries at some locations), music, educational displays, presentations, and a Remembrance Wall. Participants will have the opportunity to add pictures and written messages to the Remembrance Wall as well as decorate their own luminary to add to the display.

This year, event organizers are proud to offer participants training in using the overdose-prevention drug Naloxone. Once the training is complete, participants will receive a free Naloxone kit.

Naloxone is a legal drug that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. The drug can quickly restore normal breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped due to an overdose. The drug has no effect on someone who is not experiencing the effects of opioid overdose. The drug can be administered by anyone with access to it and can save a life when administered in a timely manner.

Voss said that just like a cancer walk, “A Light to Remember” allows communities to unite, show support, and receive education.

“In remembering those we have lost, we remember why we need to make things different for our future mothers, fathers, children, and friends,” she said.

For those who would like to be part of the movement but are not able to participate in person, a complimentary “Remember at Home kit” is available. Visit Remember at Home to order or to find pick-up sites around Utah.

A statewide moment of silence will be held at 9 p.m. on August 31 and will be fed live to Facebook pages from most locations.

For further information about the events, contact Jennifer Peatross at, 435-671-7257, or visit the “A Light to Remember” website. 

Luminary celebrations are held Wednesday, August 31, at the following locations and times:

  • Cache/Box Elder counties – Cache County Fairgrounds, Logan, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Carbon/Emery counties – Huntington State Park, Huntington, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Salt Lake County – Utah State Capitol South Steps, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 
  • Duchesne County – Central Park Pavilion, Roosevelt, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Grand County – Rotary Park, Moab, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • Weber County – Ogden Botanical Gardens, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 
  • Sevier County – Richfield City Park, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • South Salt Lake County – Wheeler Historic Farm, Murray, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Washington County – Utah Tech University, St. George, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 
  • Tooele County – Stansbury Park Clubhouse, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.