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Tennesseans gather to honor lives lost on International Overdose Awareness Day

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, you aren't alone. Various organizations offer support throughout our community.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — East Tennesseans joined people from around the world to honor, celebrate, and remember lives cut short from an overdose on Monday. 

The day marked International Overdose Awareness Day. 

The group Tennessee Overdose Prevention held a candlelight vigil tonight over ZOOM, asking anyone taking part to light a candle honoring those who died from an overdose.

They also read the names, and shared memories of loved ones.

"We just want people to know they aren't alone. That there is hope. That we are not just here to mourn those that we lost, but to celebrate that we can come together. Because the only way we can beat this is if we come together," James "Bubba" Gracyzyk told 10News. 

With people feeling more isolated than normal during the pandemic, organizers reminded anyone struggling with addition they are not alone. 

There are ways to get help virtually. 

In downtown Knoxville, people released purple balloons from Volunteer Landing to remember victims of drug abuse.

Before the release, organizers read the names of people who have died. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there are places in our community which offer support. 

The Tennessee Redline, which is funded by the state, offers referrals if you need help with abuse. The number is 800-889-9789, and there's more information available here.

The state also offers guidance on where to get help in Tennessee here.

Another place to start is the Metro Drug Coalition in Knoxville. You can learn about confidential referrals for treatment by going to its website.

New this year, the coalition began Hands of Hope, a mentoring program for first-time moms who are getting addiction treatment or are recovering from addiction. One aspect of the program - helping young mothers stay sober while also raising a Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome baby.

The Knox County Health Department has more information about where mothers can go to get help. Try this link.

Cokesbury Church asking people on Mother's Day to support its new program to treat drug addicted moms and their babies.

The University of Tennessee Knoxville campus also offers numerous places to turn for help in our area. Find out more.

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids offers strategies and tool kits to help parents address substance use. You can call 855-DRUGFREE or visit drugfree.org.

There are a number of opioid treatment and residential programs in East Tennessee.

One that's specifically designed to help mothers is Susannah's House Mothers in Recovery. It's a licensed outpatient program for mothers with infants or young children who want to be sober.

Here is a link to learn more about Susannah's House.