KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — As a part of Overdose Awareness Month, the Monroe County Prevention Coalition is partnering with the City of Madisonville and the Downtown Madisonville Alliance to hold the first ever ‘Smash the Stigma’ Community Water Balloon Fight.
August is Overdose Awareness Month and International Overdose Awareness Day is held on August 31 each year to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma and risks associated with overdosing. It also acknowledges the grief felt by the family and friends of overdose victims.
The water balloon fight is meant to help raise awareness about drug overdose and spread the message that overdose deaths are preventable. Nationally more than 91,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2020, a rise of 30% compared with the year before. Of the 25,796 overdoses reported in Tennessee in 2020, there were 3,032 that were fatal, and 14 of those were in Monroe County.
The fight is planned for Saturday, August 27 at 6 p.m. on Tellico Street in Downtown Madisonville. Participants can line both sides of Tellico Street from Cook Street to Memorial Park. They are encouraged to arrive early to get a spot. For those who do not bring their own balloons, First United Methodist Church’s youth will be selling water balloons along the route prior to the event. Water guns are also allowed.
Once the fight begins, first responders will be going up and down the route returning fire to the community. The Monroe County Prevention Coalition says to be prepared to get wet.
After the fight, booths will be set up in Memorial Park with resources to help people learn more about drug overdose prevention. Food trucks will also be in the park from 6 to 8 p.m.