Seen on: CBS 6 Albany

Monday, August 28th 2023

Overdose Awareness Vigil held in Saratoga Springs as Capital Region communities grapple with OD spike

Overdose Awareness Vigil held in Saratoga Springs as Capital Region communities grapple with OD spike (WRGB)   View All Photos

An overdose awareness vigil was held in Saratoga Springs Monday night to honor the lives lost from addiction and offer support to those still struggling.

The vigil comes amid a recent spike in overdoses in the Capital Region.

While the vigil was for National Overdose Awareness Day, which is Thursday, August 31st, organizers say the recent spike in OD’s doubles down on the message behind this vigil – that addiction is a disease and one that doesn’t discriminate.

“He was a wonderful child. We’re a very middle-class family, very close family, extended and he was into sports, loved animals,” said Ken Provost.

In 2014, Ken Provost and his wife Maureen lost their son to opioid addiction. He was just 23 years old.

“Dan’s issues started with an oxycodone prescription following wisdom teeth extraction. From there, it went into more drugs, more drinking, so from something very innocuous came a lifetime of changes,” said Maureen.

Since his death, the couple has made it their mission to advocate for more resources to help those struggling with addiction and to warn people that it can happen to anyone.

“Every family can be affected by it and that’s the biggest thing we’re trying to get out. Don’t think it can’t happen to your child because it absolutely can,” said Ken.

Held in Congress Park, candles were lit during the vigil to remember those, like Dan, who have lost their lives from addiction.

The vigil was hosted by a number of addiction and recovery agencies including Recovery Advocacy in Saratoga (RAIS) and Healing Springs Recovery Center.

“To remember those who have fought this battle so we can still send that message out to the community that this was somebody’s brother, sister, father, mother, somebody’s relative who struggled with a disease that if it was anything else, if it was cancer, they wouldn’t be stigmatized, but having that stigma associated with addiction and having a vigil such as this to say ‘you can come here, you are safe, nobody’s going to judge you, nobody’s going to mock you for your struggles, we’re going to help you and welcome you,” said Brendan Nortan, Chairperson with RAIS.

The vigil also celebrated those who are in recovery and provided support to those still struggling.

The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office and county health department were at the vigil providing Narcan training and offering Narcan kits to the community.

“Letting people see that we are on their side, we’re not looking to get people in trouble all the time,” said Captain Dan Morley with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office. “What we do is we try to follow up with overdose calls we get and put them in touch with organizations such as the ones here tonight,” he added.

On October 7th, the Provost will be hosting their 6th annual Dan Provost Memorial Walk at Gavin Park in Wilton to raise awareness on addiction and educate the community about recovery services.