There will be a vigil in Copley Square tonight to remember Boston residents who have died of drug overdoses and recognize those struggling with addiction, according to city and public health officials, who say they want people to seek help for drug addictions.

"But we have to get past the shame and stigma that often gets in the way,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino in a statement today. “The vigil is a chance for folks in the community – victims, families, friends, and advocates all coming together – to support one another and prevent these needless tragedies from happening in the future.”

At the vigil, which will run from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., speakers will highlight the success of the city's Narcan education and enrollment programs, which put a life-saving tool in the hands of individuals who are most likely to witness an overdose.

Narcan, the brand name for a medication called naloxone, reverses opiode overdoses by blocking the effects of drugs such as heroin and oxycodone.

The medication is non-addictive and does not cause harm if used in error.


Since 2007, the program has enrolled more than 2,500 individuals to carry Narcan in Boston, and trained thousands more in overdose prevention.

To date, approximately 250 individuals in Boston were saved when their overdoses were reversed through the use of Narcan.