Quilt remembers those lost to addiction

Loved ones lost to substance use disorders, including opioid addiction, will be remembered during a quilting event on Saturday, April 1, from 10 to 1, at Mountainside Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment Center, 372 Danbury Road, Wilton.

Gone But Not Forgotten is part of a statewide Remembrance Quilt initiative recently launched by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). This event is one of several happening statewide. DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph.D., and local elected officials have been invited to attend.

“Substance use disorders and opioid-related deaths continue to skyrocket in Connecticut. We are pleased to support the efforts of DHMAS by raising awareness of this non-discriminating disease and build a community of support,” said Thea Diserio Ross, community relations development of Mountainside Wilton Outpatient Office. “This event is an opportunity for our neighbors, friends, and families to come together to remember their loved ones in a soothing, nurturing environment.”

Participants will create a square in honor of their loved one, which eventually will be added to The Remembrance Quilt. Supplies will be provided; however, participants may also bring their own supplies, including a photo of their loved one, preferably on a flash drive or sent ahead of time. Mountainside staff and community volunteers will be on hand to guide all activities and help bring ideas to fruition.

Participants also may come to the event with a pre-made square. Instructions for creating squares can be accessed through the DMHAS website, www.ct.gov/dmhas/notforgotten. Those unable to attend may send a completed square to DMHAS.

The quilting event is open to all, but registration is required. Email Thea Diserio Ross at thea.ross@mountainside.com or call 203-665-1148.

Squares collected at each event will be joined together by quilting groups who have donated their time and talent to this effort. The quilts will be displayed across Connecticut to pay tribute to those who died and help raise awareness of substance use disorders and addiction.

“The Remembrance Quilt is not only a way for people to honor their loved ones whom they lost to addiction, but it will continue to raise awareness about the possible deadly consequences of this disease,” said Commissioner Delphin-Rittmon. “By contributing a square in honor of somebody they lost to addiction, families and friends can send a message that no one is alone. That if you lost someone to addiction, there are others who share your grief, and for those who are actively using, you are loved, recovery is possible and help is available.”

Every year, approximately 570,000 people die from a substance use disorder in the United States. A report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner found that 729 people died of accidental drug intoxication, or overdose, in Connecticut in 2015.