Since 2001, millions of people have taken to the streets on August 27 for International Overdose Awareness Day, the worlds largest annual campaign to end overdoses.
“Its a problem that can happen to anybody,” said Jana Revell.
Revell is one of those people. She lost her brother, Jeremy, a doctor and loving father, to an overdose in January 2021.
“It was very hard; it was a long battle. He had been in three different rehabs. He had been struggling with it for a long time,” she said. “But you knew it could be something that would happen, but when it actually did happen, it was pretty shocking.”
She was just one of about twenty-five people who participated in Thursday’s march at the University of Arizona.
“Well be here every year to try to raise awareness,” said Kira Moore-Rendon.
She lost her son Jacob to an overdose in September 2021 after discovering him unresponsive in his bedroom.
“I have a hole in my heart, and that feeling cant be healed,” she said, recalling how she found out. “I have three beautiful children who feel that pain too. The loss of a brother, the loss of a best friend.”
Revells brother and Moore-Rendon’s son were two of the 106,000 who died from overdoses in 2021.
A number that has risen since 2001, when there were less than 20,000 deaths, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A trend they and others hope to see make a complete 180.
I have to have hope. Thats why were here. Well be here every year, whether two people show up or a hundred people show up,” Moore-Rendon said.