Sculpture Symbolizing Opioid Crisis to be Displayed at the Main Library
Cambridge, MA, Sept. 9, 2019 –The Cambridge Public Library is pleased to announce that the Opioid Spoon sculpture, created by artist and activist Domenic Esposito to raise awareness about the opioid crisis, will be on display at the Main Library from September 16, 2019. The sculpture will be displayed in commemoration of National Recovery Month.
The 800-pound steel sculpture is the physical representation of the Opioid Spoon Project, an initiative started by artist and activist Domenic Esposito to educate and inform the community about the opioid crisis.
The sculpture embodies the pain and hopelessness of families and communities affected by the opioid crisis and is an expression of solidarity for families dealing with addiction. The Opioid Spoon passed through Cambridge earlier this spring on its east coast Honor Tour from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania. During an event held at City Hall, Cambridge residents joined thousands of other grieving family members and friends to sign the spoon in honor of those lost during the epidemic.
The sculpture is also a symbol of hope – that policy makers, heath care providers and the pharmaceutical companies will put the welfare of families ahead of profits and political considerations.
“The Honor Tour was such a humbling, yet amazing experience for me. Meeting so many who have lost loved ones to the opioid crisis, hearing their stories and watching their sadness as they signed the spoon was a life changing event for me,” observed Esposito. “I am so incredibly honored and grateful to Mayor McGovern, his staff and the City of Cambridge for displaying the spoon so others can view the many heart filled, sad and powerful messages left to honor those who have been lost to the opioid epidemic. Thank You Cambridge!”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 191 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed to US patients in 2017. More than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses — of those deaths, 68% involved a prescription or illicit opioid. In the first 6 months of 2019, DPH confirmed 611 opioid-related overdose deaths in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The DPH estimates an additional 292 to 363 deaths by the end of the year.
“Every signature etched on to the Honor Spoon, and countless others who were not, represent someone’s child, a brother, or an aunt who lost their lives in an epidemic which is ongoing,” said Cambridge Mayor McGovern of the sculpture. “The physical spoon weighs some 800lbs, but it should feel much heavier to those of us who are in public office, who work in the pharmaceutical trade, and who manage public health. We need to act, and this spoon is a reminder of that responsibility.”
It is hard to imagine a better location for the sculpture than the Main Library. A dynamic and bustling center of civic life in Cambridge, the Main Library hosted last year a screening of Runnin, a documentary film chronicling the impact of the epidemic in Somerville, Massachusetts. Besides hosting the Opioid Spoon for National Recovery Month 2019 the CPL will generate book lists of related reading.
“The Opioid Spoon seats at the nexus of art and activism, interests that are nurtured daily at the Cambridge Public Library,” observed Dr. Maria McCauley, Director of Libraries for the City of Cambridge. “As a learning space and a community gathering place, we share in the pain of our patrons and our community. It is for this reason that I believe this sculpture, which uses art and activism to highlight a crisis, acknowledges lives it has claimed, and offers hope for a solution, is at home at the Cambridge Public Library.”
The sculpture’s second visit to Cambridge is an acknowledgement of the work done by the city to highlight the opioid crisis. In 2018, City Manager Louis DePasquale established a working group to assess the feasibility of expanding harm reduction efforts in the City of Cambridge. A newly established Substance Use Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from human services, public safety, and public health, is currently advising the City Manager on policies and practices that address the opioid epidemic in Cambridge.
About the Cambridge Public Library:
The Cambridge Public Library opened in 1889 and serves the community of Cambridge, Massachusetts. It provides free access to information for over 100,000 Cambridge residents and provides an engaging community space for innovative events and programming to serve its patrons The Library’s programming provides an opportunity for civic dialog, conversation and learning, which includes exploring a wide range of views.