Watertown community marks Overdose Awareness Day

WATERTOWN — Amid the sunshine and hustle and bustle of Wednesday’s farmers market, under the canopy of Watertown’s City Hall, the Alliance for Better Communities invited community members to join together for a Community Recovery Action Day event in conjunction with International Overdose Awareness and Remembrance Day.

Dozens gathered for the annual event, which included city and county officials, friends and family members of those who have been lost to addiction, individuals in recovery, representatives of local agencies and more.

From 2020 to date in 2022, Jefferson County has lost 77 lives to overdoses, and many more are struggling with opiate addiction, the stigma associated with it, and feelings of hopelessness, officials said. Addiction can be perceived as deserved or shameful, leaving families and friends to grieve in silence, or forcing people with addictions to be alone in their recovery. To draw attention to the destructive nature of substance abuse and addiction, the event provides awareness and information about addiction; provides resources on where to get help for someone who is currently struggling with addiction; and provides a place of healing and remembrance for those who have lost loved ones due to addiction.

Recovering from her own addiction, Amanda Loomis Serrano has been sober for more than 10 years following 25 years of active addiction, and she said she has lost her entire family to the disease.

“Unfortunately, I came from a family that it was par