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Indianapolis nonprofit looks to share overdose stories on Black Balloon Day

Remembering overdose victims on Black Balloon Day

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis nonprofit remembered drug overdose victims on Wednesday as part of a nationwide effort.

It’s called Black Balloon Day – family members traditionally release black balloons to remember a loved one who lost their battle with addiction.

To honor the day, Overdose Lifeline asked families to release virtual balloons on social media and share the story of their family member affected by an overdose.

The nonprofit is a drug addiction advocacy and resource group, founded around 2014.

The first Black Balloon Day was in 2016, after the family of Greg Trembley, a Massachusetts man, used the balloons to honor him a year after he died of an overdose.

Overdose Lifeline provides educational materials about drug use across the country. Here in Indiana, it helps pack and distribute fentanyl testing strips and the overdose reversal drug, Naloxone, also known as Narcan.  

According to organizers, Overdose Lifeline helps distribute about 24,000 doses of Naloxone a month.

Justin Phillips, founder and chief executive officer, has a personal connection to the cause – her son Aaron died of an overdose in 2013.

She says the best way to reduce the stigma about the issue is to talk about it.

“Aaron’s always right here, whether or not anyone asks me,” Phillips said. “It’s not gonna make me sad — it’s gonna give me joy to talk about him. So, the opportunity to see his name, to see it … shared with others (and) for others to see his name is, what we’re trying to provide for people. Just the sense of community and belonging and awareness.”

The nonprofit also provides programming for children whose parents are battling addiction and other support groups for families.

To download Overdose Lifeline’s virtual balloon template for Black Balloon Day or to learn more about their resources, visit the group’s website.

Overdose Lifeline Black Balloon Day template for a virtual release (Provided Photo/Overdose Lifeline)