COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Leaders in Franklin County are coming together to raise awareness and remember those who have lost their lives to a drug overdose.

A vigil and illumination event took place at the Franklin County Forensic Science Center on Wednesday, where speakers shared personal stories of loss, overcoming addiction, and resources to help the community. 

The center was lit up purple to remember the lives lost to overdose in years past.   

So far in 2023, there have been almost 350 lives in Franklin County lost to overdoses. That number is on track to match what the area saw last year, lower than in 2020, but almost double the overdose numbers in the area in 2016.

The goal of the vigil is to remember neighbors, friends and loved ones as well as share ways people can get support if they are suffering from addiction.

Some resources available include ADAMH Board of Franklin County and the Opioid Action Alliance.

“One of the biggest takeaways I want folks to understand is the disease of addiction and how we can reduce the stigma around fighting this disease of addiction and ways that we can act whether it’s regarding prevention, treatment, and recovery options,” Franklin County Coroner Dr. Nathaniel Overmire said. 

Thursday, Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. There are a number of events going on around the city to spread awareness about the disease of addiction and about the resources available.