Vigil held for opioid-related deaths

The Downtown Mission hosted 'A Night to Remember' honouring those who lost their lives to overdose in Windsor, Ont. on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (Angelo Aversa/CTV Windsor)

The Downtown Mission held a vigil Monday evening, honouring those who have lost their lives through an accidental drug overdose.

 “A Night to Remember” took place at the Mission’s courtyard on Victoria Avenue.

Many overdoses are the result of opioids. According to the DTM, statistics from the Windsor Essex County Health Unit reveal that:

  • In 2020, there were 63 opioid overdose deaths reported by the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario;
  • Forty-one per cent of all opioid-related deaths were males aged 25-44;
  • Fentanyl was the most common opioid identified in 2020 opioid-related deaths in WEC, occurring in 65% of opioid-related deaths.

As a result of decisive interventions by DTM staff trained to use Naloxone, 88 opioid overdoses were reversed, and lives were saved in 2020.

“This is special time to come together as an extended family to find peace and healing,” says Ron Dunn, Downtown Mission executive director.

“When a Mission guest dies, there is an emptiness we all feel,” he says. “We mourn as we would members of our family because we are their family.”

Brittany Lavin, manager of programs and services at the Downtown Mission, says many of them seemed comfort at the mission.

“Because people are struggling doesn’t mean they’re any less deserving of a funeral of celebrating life, of just basic respect and this just kinda sheds some light that they’re here, they’re humans too at a baseline,” she says.