Mothers With A Purpose partnered with the National Coalition Against Drug Abuse to hold the vigil as a part of Red Ribbon Week, an alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention awareness campaign held every October for the last six years.
"Every day, 2,500 teens in the United States try prescription drugs to get high for the first time," Marlene, a member of Mothers With A Purpose, told those who held candles. "Sixty percent of teens who have abused prescription painkillers did so before the age of 15. Forty-five percent of those who use prior to the age 15 will later develop an addiction."
Marlene told the crowd that drug addiction is a disease that shows no prejudice, but is perceived as shameful, "leaving loved ones to grieve in silence and addicts left to struggle alone."
"With the removal of shame comes the hope for survival. Acceptance of the disease can be humbling to the soul and, in turn, empowering to those in need," she said.
The vigil was held in front of the Museum on Main, with tables marking the names of those lost to the disease. In the last two years, the area has lost a number of young adults to drug-related deaths.
"This vigil is to bring awareness to the community of the seriousness of drug addiction and drug abuse," said Nikki Montez. "I'm a mom of a child who became addicted to opiates while still in high school. He just recently found recovery about six months ago."
The red ribbon campaign began after drug traffickers in Mexico City murdered Kiki Camarena, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, in 1985. Residents of Calexico, Calif., Camarena's hometown, began wearing red ribbons in his honor.