In honor of National Overdose Awareness Day, the Root Center for Advanced Recovery opened the gate to a new sanctuary garden to honor those who lost their lives to addiction.
The center is a nonprofit organization offering crucial mental health and addiction services at 10 different clinics across Connecticut.
On Wednesday, community leaders cut the ribbon on a peaceful sanctuary called the Memorial Garden.
"Just like there's one gate here there should be one door that people can walk through for help," board president of the Root Center for Advanced Recovery, Bruce Simons, said.
State Representative Geoff Luxenburg shared his pain having never met his mother-in law or sister-in-law - both dying from drug overdoses.
"Two of my kids, it was their first day of school today and I looked into their eyes and they were so excited to go to school. All of that innocence and joy of going to school, and it is a special thing when you're a dad, but I was also thinking about what this day means for me, for my wife," Luxenburg said.
The center said they treat more than 6,000 people daily and are committed to providing mental health and addiction services to thousands struggling with addiction.
Mark, who is now a sponsor, said he made it to the Root Center for Advanced Recovery in 1998 when he was struggling with drug addiction. He never left.
"Don't think we can have enough people addressing this issue, it's the number one problem in our society," he said.
The National Center for Health Statistics released data by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showing the death toll from April 2020 to April 2021 was the first time that number had topped six figures, coming in at 100,306 Americans dead from a drug overdose.
As we continue to follow the devastating consequences in opioid misuse and related overdoses, elected officials want the garden, the day and the memories of the lives lost to mean something more.
"This day also gives us an opportunity to turn national opioid awareness day into a day of action," Luxenburg said.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, get help. They say the first step is the hardest, but you can make that call.
Click here to find one of the Root Center's 10 locations where you can seek help.
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