International Overdose Awareness Day, A sad but important remembrance.

August 28, 2017

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

It is an epidemic.

It is a tragedy.

It is also our sad reality.

Too many people around the country and right here in Western New York have died as a result of an opioid overdose. We’ve seen the heartbreaking Facebook posts, gut-wrenching obituaries and mind-numbing news reports; too many of our friends and neighbors are dying. For the families of those lost, it can be a very long, tragic road – filled with anger, frustration and sadness.

Kathy Rose knows the pain associated with addiction; she lost her brother, Danny Pletcher in 2008. He was 30-years-old, “He had spent the year before his death in jail on drug related charges.  He had battled addiction for at least 4 years,”  recalls Kathy, ” He started with a back injury and being prescribed pain killers. It went down hill from there and turned to a heroin addiction.”

As is often the case, Danny was a good guy – loved by his family and friends, “He was a funny guy. Always joking and making people laugh. He had a huge heart and would do anything for his friends.” But, Kathy says, drugs took over and ruined everything for Danny, “He had a child who was one when he got out of jail and he was never allowed to see her, by her mother, which at the time I can’t say I blame her.  I’ve heard that the highest risk of overdose and death is right after a release from jail or rehabs. Yet there’s almost no aftercare when released so they are set up basically to fail.”

Hopefully, an event like this can help bring awareness and find solutions.

WHAT:  International Overdose Awareness Day – There is a Candlelight Memorial Service at LaSalle Park for families of those taken from this devastating epidemic. If your loved one was taken please join the remembrance.

WHEN: August 31, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.

The second Candlelight Memorial to remember loved ones, neighbors, colleagues and friends who succumbed to the disease of opioid addiction will be held at the LaSalle Park Pavilion Bandshell. This event, occurring on International Overdose Awareness Day, is sponsored by the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force’s (“ECOETF”) Family and Consumer Support and Advocacy group. Their goal is to save lives while erasing the stigma of addiction, and educate the community to treat addiction appropriately, as “substance abuse disorder” –  a recognized disease.

For more information or to take part, contact Mary Beth at or

This event is meant to deal with this epidemic as a community. We are all grieving together for those who have lost a loved one, those dealing with this disease and those with a loved one in the midst of it right now.


About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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