Some families wore T-shirts emblazoned with the names of their lost loved ones. Prevent.” As dusk descended, many people turned on the battery-operated candles placed at each seat.
Colorful postcards with notes to the dead were posted on a giant blackboard in the stadium hallway. Sounding a theme of the evening, Philadelphia City Councilman David Oh said, “Addiction has no boundaries. …We can do a lot better in government.” Each of the three featured speakers delved into another theme of the evening: the stigma of the disease of addiction. We used different language then to talk about those battling addictions.
“It is more than overwhelming and unacceptable,” said Camden County Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli, opening the ceremony at 6 p.m. He cited an Inquirer and Daily News analysis this week that found a 50 percent increase in overdose deaths so far this year in Philadelphia and the seven surrounding counties.
During the somber event — hosted by the freeholder board and 17 counties from three states — the names and photos of 892 overdose victims were shown on video screens on either side of the stage, draped in black.
“Addiction is a chronic brain disease,” Phillips said.