Black Balloon Day: Remembering Lives Lost to Substance Use Disorders

Columbia, SC – According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the rate of overdose deaths in the US has continued to accelerate during the pandemic, rising 38.4% during the year leading up to June 2020. In South Carolina alone, statistics showed that from January through June 2020, EMS response to overdoses was 52% higher than the same time in 2019. Experts say there are many reasons why overdoses are happening more frequently, including factors that range from the over-prescribing of highly addictive opioids to the overall increase in substance use associated with the pandemic.

To commemorate those lives lost to substance use disorder—and to call attention to overdose prevention—LRADAC is sponsoring Black Balloon Day on Saturday, March 6, 11 am to 1 pm. This drive-thru event will help commemorate those lives lost from drug overdose in our community, honor their family and loved ones, and educate the public about ways to prevent substance misuse and overdoses. Family members and loved ones will also have the chance to write the name of a lost loved one on a biodegradable black balloon and release it in their memory.

LRADAC prevention staff will be handing out substance misuse and overdose education materials, t-shirts and other give-away items. Free Narcan—medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose—will also be available along with Narcan training for anyone interested in keeping some on hand at home or adding Narcan to their First Aid kit.

Sponsored by LRADAC and Piggly Wiggly #312, Black Balloon Day is a free event and will be held in the DSS Parking Lot, 1070 S. Lake Drive, Lexington, SC, 11 am to 1 pm. For more information, contact Hailey Kanipe, LRADAC Prevention Specialist at 803-315-9808 or by email at HKanipe@lradac.org.

LRADAC is the designated alcohol abuse and drug abuse authority for Lexington and Richland Counties of South Carolina. The public, not-for-profit agency offers a wide array of prevention, intervention and treatment programs in locations convenient to residents of both counties. The agency has a budget of approximately $10 million and serves more than 5,000 clients per year.