PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A special candlelight vigil was held Wednesday night in Port St. Lucie, to honor loved ones who died from drug overdoses.
Dozens joined in solidarity for The Second Annual International Overdose Awareness Event at Veterans Park at Rivergate.
Crystal Barker King was in attendance for her sister, Sarah Lanning. A 23-year-old from Port St. Lucie who had a love for animals and helping seniors, but also struggled with addiction.
"She died in 2019 it just never gets easier, the loss is always there," said King. "She bought what she thought was heroin and it turned out to be fentanyl, so she literally within seconds it killed."
The event's organizer, Pattie Roberts, lost her youngest son Danny four years ago.
He battled addiction and other mental health issues for eight years. Roberts said her son's death left her and her husband devastated.
"Having to write a 22-year-old obituary, it’s heartbreaking. The kid didn’t even get a start yet and yet his life has ended," said Roberts.
Roberts started the awareness event last year. The goal she said is to help bring awareness to the opioid epidemic and also reduce the stigma associated with substance abuse.
"It’s a disease no different than diabetes or heart conditions and we need to support those who are in recovery and give them hope because there is hope," said Roberts.
The group recognized a total of 75 people who died from substance abuse.