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Sault candlelight vigil honours those lost to addiction

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A vigil was held Tuesday evening in Sault Ste. Marie to remember those who have lost their lives to addiction.

The ceremony came as Algoma District finds itself near the top of the list of communities in the province being hardest hit by the opioid crisis in the province and amid a renewed calls to secure provincial funding for a day treatment centre in the Sault area.

The vigil was held at the memorial wall outside city hall, which contains the names of people who have died of addiction-related causes. Ahead of the ceremony, 18 more names were added to the wall ahead of the ceremony.

The founder of Save Our Young Adults (SOYA), Connie Raynor-Elliott, was joined by city Mayor Matthew Shoemaker during the event. They both said they will continue to advocate for more provincial dollars to help fight what they are calling a public health crisis.

“There’s going to be a lot more names, unfortunately. Even in the last few days, we did lose more people and people’s loved ones, it’s very horrendous,” said Raynor-Elliott.

“I do have hope. We are fighting and our city is fighting for the day treatment centre, which we desperately need.”

“Every day that goes by is another day where we are lacking services that they’ve got in North Bay and that they’ve got in other communities,” Shoemaker said.

“So, I’ve tried to impress that point upon our MPP and encourage him to do everything possible to assist in obtaining that funding.”

A residential withdrawal management facility is under construction in the area, with no opening date yet confirmed. The Sault Area Hospital has also submitted a request for funding relating to the day treatment centre.

For more information on their work in the community and vigil, visit SOYA’s Facebook page.

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