Black Balloon Day

Every year on March 6th, people across the nation and world take a moment to remember and honor those who have lost their lives to overdose. This day is known as Black Balloon Day. As with many things related to the opioid epidemic, this tradition began with a family’s loss. Diane and Lauren Hurley began Black Balloon Day in remembrance of Greg Tremblay, a family member who died of an overdose when he was 38 years old on March 6, 2015.

In recent years, Maine has experienced a dramatic spike in overdose deaths. Last year, 636 Mainers lost their lives to this tragic epidemic. The rise in deaths stems from fentanyl being laced into other drugs (without the users’ knowledge), loss of access to treatment, rising mental health problems, increased isolation, and other challenges arising from the pandemic.

Overdose deaths are now at a record high across the United States. In 2021, more people have died from overdose than car crashes and gun violence combined. Steps are being taken across our state to address the opioid epidemic, such as increased naloxone access and programs for individuals seeking recovery. Still, there is so much more work to be done.

This year the Western Maine Addiction Recovery Initiative will take a moment to honor and remember our loved ones by “hosting” a virtual balloon release on Facebook and social media. Use the virtual balloon template below to post and tag #BlackBalloonDay.

Join our Virtual Balloon Release

Maine Student Action “Lead with Love” Screening and Panel, May 27th

Students at Mountain Valley High have organized a showing of “Lead With Love” and a panel discussion on May 27th in Rumford from 5:30-7:30 pm. If you are interested in attending, you can register here or use the QR code below:...

Volunteer Recovery Coaches are needed in Oxford County!

Volunteer Recovery Coaches are needed in Oxford County! What is a Recovery Coach? A Recovery Coach promotes recovery and removes barriers and obstacles to recovery, serving as a personal guide and mentor for people seeking or already in recovery from an addiction to...

April 6th-Community Conversation, Building Resilience in Recovery

We invite you to participate in a community conversation on building resilience during recovery on April 6th. WMARI and the Maine Resilience Building Network will host this community conversation about the power of building community resilience to support our fellow...

Call Your Senator and Save Lives!

LD 1862: An Act to Strengthen Maine’s Good Sam Laws Concerning Drug Related Medical Assistance Click here for a recent one-pager that explains the difference between Maxmin's Amendment and the Governor's. Most people who witness an overdose want to help, and nearly...

Black Balloon Day, March 6th

Every year, people across the country (and world) participate in a black balloon release to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic and honor those that have passed from an overdose. Join the Western Maine Addiction Recovery Initiative on March 6th in a virtual balloon...

5th Annual Western Maine Recovery Rally

WMARI wants to thank everyone who participated in the 5th Annual Western Maine Recovery Rally. It was a great success and a lot of fun! We want to take a moment to recognize those that helped make it possible:

WMARI Members Show Our Community “What Recovery Looks Like”

The Advertiser Democrat is publishing a feature series leading up to the 5th Annual Western Maine Recovery Rally, showing Oxford County "what recovery looks like." Read each of their stories: Glenn Gordon, Kari Taylor, Gail Geraghty, Nicole Araujo  

5th Annual Western Maine Recovery Rally, Sunday-September 19th

WMARI is hosting the 5th Annual Western Maine Recovery Rally on Sunday, September 19th, and wants you to join us. Free T-Shirts and masks on a first-come, first-serve basis! We will begin the march from Longley Square (413 Main Street, Norway) and make our voices...

WMARI’s New Project Coordinator

WMARI is happy to introduce Kari Taylor as its new Project Coordinator. Kari has many years of experience assisting with program management and administrative support in the field of substance use and harm reduction and will be taking part in the day-to-day operations...

Maine Drug Data Hub website

This new website collects a TON of useful data in one place. It's packed with links to reports and data dashboards, info about how to start distributing naloxone, and much more.  You can even get in touch with someone if you have questions about the data! Seems like...