On International Overdose Awareness Day, the Memorial Poster Project Exhibition was set up outside the State Capitol in Hartford.
It included pictures of nearly 350 people who have been lost to addiction, including John Lally’s son, Tim.
He says Tim died from a heroin overdose more than three years ago.
“We tried to make something positive come from his struggle,” said Lally.
He started a group in Ellington in memory of his son called “Today I Matter” or TIM.
They speak to organizations about addiction and even teach people how to use Narcan.
The most moving part of the exhibit might be the pictures which travel around New England.
“Christmas morning we got the phone call that he was dead,” said Cassandra Sommers.
Sommers traveled from Washington State to see her son Bradley’s picture.
The Eagle Scout passed away after taking an opioid.
“It’s everywhere. It’s every walk of life. It’s the young kids. It’s the old kids. It’s the parents. It’s the grandparents. It doesn’t discriminate,” said Sommers.
Part of the display includes more than 1,000 flags. Each represents a life lost to an overdose in the state last year.
While the number of posters sadly keeps growing, the hope is that this project helps reduce the shame and stigma associated with addiction.
“The number one thing I want them to take away is there are people out there who will not judge. We all come together to commune together to talk to each other and support each other. That don’t suffer in silence,” said Lally.
Their goal is this also helps leads to better treatment options and to turn the tide on a crisis.