History of IOAD & PIK’s Butterfly Memorial

In 2001, Sally J Finn at The Salvation Army in St. Kilda, Melbourne recognized the need for International Overdose Awareness Day (IODAD) to commemorate those who have been lost to a drug overdose. One of the main goals of IODAD is to provide a safe environment for individuals to publicly mourn loved ones – some for the first time without feeling guilt or shame. IODAD will also bring awareness about the tragic number of overdose deaths, as well as stimulate discussion regarding overdose prevention and current drug policy. 

Prevention Is Key / CARES, has held a Butterfly Memorial to commemorate IODAD since 2019. Since its inception, the Butterfly Memorial Event has grown to now include two (2) counties, and origami butterflies, and continues to evolve. Origami butterflies were introduced at the 2022 event so that attendees could take a memento with them and remember their loved ones. After the names have been read, -unfortunately, there are always too many names—you feel the pain and grief in the air. But, soon after, you can feel the collective healing!

There is often an outpouring of support and understanding from our friends when we lose someone we love, but, unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen when our loss results from an overdose or problematic substance use.  At the Butterfly Memorial, individuals get to stand together with compassion and support.

Anyone who’s lost a loved one to an overdose or substance use-related death can submit a name to be read at either Morris County or Passaic County or both events via email! Morris County contact is B Teed at bteed@mcpik.org The Passaic County contact is Samantha Neville at sneville@mcpik.org. The names that are submitted and have previously been submitted remain on the list to be read every year unless requested otherwise by family so we can continue to honor and remember them every year!  

Do not worry, we will have tissues!