Overdose Awareness Day, community discusses loss and addiction

The Collegiate Recovery Community hosted a walk to promote overdose awareness and Narcan training


Eston Parker III

Sam Parker during the remembrance walk.

Gillian Manning, Editor-in-Chief

Overdose Awareness Day was Aug. 31, and the Collegiate Recovery Community (CRC) hosted a walk of remembrance on Sept. 3 to commemorate the cause. 

After the walk of remembrance through campus, the CRC and Rebel Recovery conducted free naloxone training and provided free naloxone outside of the College of Social Work. Naloxone is the generic drug used in Narcan, a drug used to combat an opioid overdose and is often used by first-responders. 

The South Florida Wellness Network and the Hub, which help connect those struggling with addiction to the resources they may need, were also involved in the event.

“I’m really excited about creating a presence on campus so that people will know that support is here, we are here,” said Sam Parker, the vice president and co-founder of the CRC. “Kids in recovery are not alone.”

Members and attendees carried banners with the faces of people who have died from an overdose across the country.

“It makes an amazing impact when you can actually see their faces instead of just hearing somebody talk about it. I lost my son in 2018, so it’s my mission now to do anything I can to promote awareness and education” said Maria Faber, a university employee and CRC member. “I’m going to be Jason’s voice for as long as I can.”

Banner held by CRC members. Photo by Eston Parker III.

There were several other mothers at the walk who, like Faber, had lost children to addiction and hope to raise awareness and fight the stigma that can surround substance abuse and recovery.

Claudine Mourjan’s youngest son recently graduated from FAU, but her oldest died an overdose. She said she hadn’t known he was struggling until it was too late. “It hits you like a truck,” Mourjan said. I thought [addiction] was far from me, but it’s not.”

Faith Halstead. Photo by Gillian Manning.

Faith Halstead, a psychology student, began to tear up as she explained what brought her to the event on Friday.

“A friend of mine just passed away a week ago, a week ago today, from an overdose. So I’m here for her, I’m here for everyone, I’m here for my community,” Halstead said. 

Halstead and Faber discussed the stigma that often surrounds addiction and how education can help create a better environment for those seeking recovery.

“We need to support those who are struggling and offer them options ﹣and the ones in recovery,” Faber said. “Because it’s the stigma that stops everything.”

They also shared the sentiment that what society is currently doing to combat substance abuse is not effective. Halstead argued that new solutions could be found through open, destigmatized discussions.

“Narcan is a huge thing. I think it should be on campus. I think it should be in the dorms,” Halstead said. “I think people should be able to have it on their persons as well in case something happens.”


Gillian Manning is the Editor-in-Chief for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, tweet her @gillianmanning_ or email [email protected].