BATH, N.Y. (WETM) — Steuben County plans to commemorate those who have lost their lives due to substance abuse next month on Black Balloon Day.

In a release sent out by the Steuben Prevention Coalition Opioid Committee, they said that 15 people died due to a substance abuse overdose in Steuben County last year, with a reported 264 cases of overdose in 2021.

Next month’s ceremony, set for March 6, will be joined by other communities across the nation taking part in the second annual Black Balloon Day.

The lost lives will be remembered at 10:00 a.m. on March 6 throughout Steuben County, with a virtual forum being done later that day from 7-8 p.m. hosted by the Steuben Prevention Coalition Opioid Committee.

The forum will hold speakers with strong local ties and real-time experiences.

Black Balloon Day was launched in 2016 in Massachusetts by Diane Hurley and her daughter, Lauren Cook, after March 6, 2015, marked the death of a family member of theirs who died from an overdose at the age of 38.

Throughout the day black balloons will fly throughout the county and have proclamations issued by local leaders.

The tragedy of overdose death is one too familiar to too many people in Steuben, according to Nancy and Bob Reigelsperger, who lost a son to an opioid overdose.

“Our hope is to encourage families towards recovery,” Bob Reigelsperger said, “We know recovery does work, but for us, sadly that ship has sailed. We don’t want other families to experience our loss.”