Remember to wear your purple ribbon on Aug. 31 for International Overdose Awareness Day. Photo by Jordyn Thomson.

Okanagan Nation bringing overdose awareness to Syilx Okanagan communities

The Purple Ribbon Campaign for International Overdose Awareness Day is Aug. 28

The Okanagan Nation Alliance is taking action to end overdoses.

Ahead of International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31, the ONA is hosting a Purple Ribbon Caravan which will travel through six Syilx communities in the Okanagan on Aug. 27 and Aug. 28.

The Caravan will come to Kelowna on Aug. 28 with an awareness walk from Westbank to Kelowna’s City Park.

“For this part of the Caravan we are calling any people who have been affected by overdoses or other allies to be part of the movement, and join us as we give voice and face this issue,” the ONA said in a release.

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The Purple Ribbon campaign starts in the Osoyoos Indian Band and travels through the Lower Similkameen Indian Band, Penticton, Westbank, Kelowna, Vernon and Merritt. The Caravan will travel through the territories educating people about addictions in hopes to save lives through resource sharing and open conversations about the growing opioid crisis.

“It is important to recognize that First Nations people are five times more likely than non-First Nations to experience an overdose event, increasing the threat to Syilx Okanagan member communities,” the ONA release said.

Through wearing the purple ribbons and taking this action, the Okanagan Nation Alliance hopes to address the first steps of the overdose crisis by taking the shame and fear out of addiction.

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The Caravan will take off from Shelter Bay Marina in West Kelowna at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 28. The walking group of people will march across the Bennett Bridge with ribbons and signs of support before ending at City Park in Kelowna.

For more information visit syilx.org.

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