Heroin addiction memorial

UPDATED Sept. 1: International Overdose Awareness Day is the world's largest campaign to end overdoses, celebrated annually on Aug. 31. The town of Arlington recognizes the importance of this day as a way to honor residents who have lost their lives to  drug overdose or addiction -- and the local families affected, a town news release said.

The Arlington Department of Health and Human Services invited the community to attend a candlelit vigil Aug. 31 on the Calvary Church lawn, 300 Mass. Ave. This year's vigil was organized by the town's prevention services division, which was formed to build on a long history of addiction recovery work in the community, according to a statement from the department.

Close to two dozen people took part at the event lasting one hour. Speakers included two town officials -- Anna Martin, prevention services manager, and Tommy Caccavaro, Arlington recovery coach -- as well as the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Good of Calvary Church. More will be reported.

“There is a lot of existing work going on in the community, and I am excited to help centralize it and build on available services,”Anna Martin wrote late last month. "We hope to see the candlelight vigil bring our community together, so we can honor and remember those whom we have lost -- and know that we are not alone in this fight."

 In addition to the vigil, the town is planning a forum to take place at Arlington Town Hall on Thursday, Sept, 28, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan is scheduled to speak about the impact of opioids and other drug use across the state. Martin is additionally set to speak to residents at this forum, joined by Department Director Christine Bongiorno. 

The town forum plans to also include an overview of the town’s funding plans for the $1.2 million in opioid settlement funds from various opioid producers and distributors over the next 15 years to help mitigate the impact that the opioid crisis has had on the town, with opportunities for feedback and Q&A.

Other Prevention Services initiatives include strengthening youth prevention efforts with the schools, collaborating with the Arlington Police Department for information sharing, and expanding the resources that the Health Department can offer. Currently, residents can access Narcan and training free of charge from the Health Department, as well as fentanyl and xylazine testing strips

Any residents who would like to access Narcan/naloxone, fentanyl test strips or xylazine/tranq test strips for any reason may walk into the Health Department, 27 Maple St., Floor 2, during business hours, call 781-316-3193, or emailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange a time for pickup.

Those looking for more information on the vigil or any other Prevention Services division initiatives may contact Martin atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the town website >>

Aug. 28, 2015: 3-hour vigil held to remember local victims of addiction

This announcement was published Friday, Aug. 25, 2023, based on information from the Arlington town Department of Health and Human Services, and updated Sept. 1, 2023, for time references and to state the number of attendees, length of the program and the principal speakers.