The power of addiction was felt Tuesday night in Downtown Buffalo, Tuesday night. Black balloons surrounded families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction in front of the Erie County Building. It's called Black Balloon Day. It's a day to remember the people who lost their battle with opioid addiction. Similar events happened across the country, aiming to remind people that addiction is a disease and not a choice.
Names were read aloud of the people in Erie County who lost their battle with addiction. That acted as a strong reminder for people dealing with their own addiction issues.
“I actually struggle from addiction from opioids. So, I came to show support to those who have lost people because that could have been me on that list. I'm just glad I wasn't,” said Ashley Havle.
For the first time in years the number of overdoses in Erie County is down from the previous year.
But for everyone at the Black Balloon event knows there is more work that needs to be done, especially when it comes to the perception of addiction.
“Understanding is the main thing. It took a long time for my family to understand that it's a disease and not a choice. So spreading the awareness around is a good start for it all,” said Havle.
There will be another Black Balloon Day next year. But the hope is, one day, Black Balloon Day, just like the opioid epidemic, will be a thing of the past.