First Selectman George R. Temple said the town will hold a “Lights of Hope” candlelight vigil Sept. 24 to make people aware of the opioid problems in Oxford and in the state.
The vigil is scheduled to start 6:30 p.m. at the Center School Gazebo, 462 Oxford Road.
It will be held rain or shine.
There will be music, food, guest speakers and a candlelight ceremony.
All are welcome and the event is free.
Temple said the first step in solving any problem is being made aware of the problem.
“The candlelight vigil will enhance our awareness of the opioid situation in Oxford and Connecticut and will allow us to focus on our efforts in attacking this heinous situation,” Temple said in a prepared statement.
Earlier this month The Hartford Courant reported Oxford residents were dying from drug overdoses at an alarming rate for a town its size.
Last year, seven Oxford residents died of drug overdoses, six of which involved opiates, according to data from Connecticut’s chief medical examiner. All six were men in their twenties or thirties.
Adjusted per capita, Oxford had one of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the state, averaging more than five deaths for every 10,000 residents — compared to about three for every 10,000 in Waterbury, New Haven and Bridgeport.
Temple formed an Opioid Crisis Steering Committee in response to the crisis, the Courant reported.
Sue Schiavi, one of the organizers of this month’s vigil, said the event is to make people more aware of what’s going on and to remember those who have been lost and support families facing addiction.
She said they hope to provide resources for those who are struggling.