Call to Somerville To Display Purple for International Overdose Awareness Day, 8/31, & More

City Hall to Be Lit with Purple Lights; Flag Display for Those Lost to Overdose; Community-wide Call for All to Hang Purple Ribbons & More

In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) on Monday, August 31, and National Recovery Month in September, advocates and officials in Somerville have united in their call for Somervillians to observe both events in a few simple but powerful ways to send a message of support and hope for recovery. 

Among the activities, an Overdose Awareness Flag Display will be installed on Monday, August 31, at City Hall. A total of 19 purple flags will be placed near City Hall - 18 in memory of the Somerville residents lost to overdose in 2019 and one larger flag for all those lost in previous years. City Hall will also be lit with purple light throughout the week of August 31 to remember those lost and help raise awareness that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. All are invited to join in this message in the following ways: 

Join in, starting August 31:

Learn about virtual recovery services and share this information with others:

The social distancing necessary to control the spread of COVID-19 can make it difficult for people in recovery to connect with others and access support. Groups like Narcotics Anonymous, SMART Recovery, and Herren Project (among others) are offering virtual recovery meetings and resources during the pandemic. We have a list of additional resources at

 Light your home or business with purple lights; tie a purple ribbon on your tree or fence:

To recognize the loss of family and friends impacted by this public health crisis, please join us in sharing a message of support and hope for recovery by lighting your home or business with purple lights, by tying a purple ribbon on your tree or fence, or by taking some other step to add purple to your yard or porch to stand with families who have lost a loved one. Starting Monday, August 31, hang a string of lights or swap your porch light out for a purple lightbulb, or place a purple light in a window (if you have electric holiday candles, you could purchase purple bulbs for them). Leave them up either for Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 or all week as City Hall will do to observe National Recovery Month. Have a roll of purple ribbon? Share it with your neighbors or nearby businesses too.

Change your social media profile photo to one of these International Overdose Awareness Day or National Recovery Month images below, or post the image, or tweet with the hashtag #iOAD2020 or #RecoveryMonth.

Become a Recovery Coach

If you are interested in learning more about how to support those impacted by addiction, the City’s COHR (Community Outreach, Help & Recovery) program will be offering the nationally approved CCAR Recovery Coach Academy in September. To learn more, contact Patty Contente at [email protected] or (617) 625-6600, ext. 7281. 

Stay Aware and Involved Year-Round

Keep reading, stay aware, help those who need them connect with resources, let your elected officials at every level know you expect change, and get involved. The City of Somerville has Narcan and Narcan training available through Health and Human Services year-round; contact Prevention Services Manager Matthew Mitchell via 311 for more information. The City is also fortunate to have many grassroots community partners such as Families Anonymous, GRASP (Grief Recovery After a Substance Passing), Learn to Cope, and Somerville Overcoming Addiction available to assist family members. In addition, COHR provides supports regarding prevention as well as access to services, intervention, and recovery.

Share all of the above with others so we are loud and clear in our message of support and hope.

Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or [email protected]