The lawn at First Congregational Church in Natick Center will be covered for the next two week with red and purple flags to honor the 2,015 lives lost last year in Massachusetts to opioids.
SOAR Natick has spearheaded the public display, assembled on Aug. 21 by several dozen volunteers, including those who planted red flags in honor of individuals. The flags will stay up until Sept. 4.
Preliminary data from January-March 2020 show there were 467 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts, an estimated 28 fewer deaths, which is a 5.7% decline compared to the first three months of 2019.
Of particular concern now is the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the opioid situation, both in terms of resources reallocated and vulnerability of those under pandemic-related stress.