FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Health Department is hosting an overdose awareness vigil Friday in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day.

The department, according to a release, said the vigil is going to be held virtually at 7 p.m. over Zoom. It said the Fairfield Police Department and Fairfield CARES, a task force established by the first selectman in 2009 to prevent underage alcohol and substance abuse, will also be hosting the third annual event. People can register for the event online.

“International Overdose Awareness Day takes place on Aug. 31 every year,” the department said. “People and communities come together to raise awareness of one of the world’s most urgent public health crises — one that, unfortunately, is only getting worse.”

The department said it encourages anyone attending the vigil to participate as much as possible, adding that there would be a candle lighting during the event.

“This vigil is a great place for people to come together who have lost loved ones due to an overdose, for those in recovery, for those who know someone who is struggling with the hardship of addiction and for anyone who would like to support community members or learn more,” the department said.

“The candlelight vigil will allow us to remember those in our community we have lost to this terrible disease, and to find the strength and support to fight for those we know who are battling with addiction,” it said. “All are welcomed to attend.”

The health department said 47,000 Americans die each year from overdoes, adding that they were the No. 1 cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.

“According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, there were 1,200 opioid overdose deaths in Connecticut in 2019, an increase in years past,” the department said. “Statewide figures for the months of March through May 2020 show that deaths from opioid overdoses rose 21.4 percent between 2019 and 2020, rising year over year for each month through April.”

The health department said the state reports there were 560 confirmed fatal drug overdoses by mid-June 2020, and 275 more pending confirmation.

“Fatal drug overdoses are killing too many people. In 2019, fentanyl was responsible for 82% of the overdose deaths due to the potency of the drug. From 2012 to 2020, there have been 35 drug overdose deaths in the town of Fairfield. These deaths could have been prevented,” the department said.

The department said resources for people struggling with addiction, or those who have family members struggling, can be found on the town’s opioid epidemic page and the Fairfield CARES page.

For questions about the Vigil and for more information please contact the Fairfield Health Department at 203-256-3020.