NEW BEDFORD — The city is putting the spotlight on opioid addiction, with the hopes that the public can learn some things we did not know about the crisis.

For International Overdose Awareness Day, New Bedford will host a speaking program on the steps of City Hall beginning at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday. Speakers include Mayor Jon Mitchell and Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro.

Following the speaking program, a vigil and procession in remembrance of overdose victims will be held from City Hall to Pilgrim Church on Purchase Street.  There will be a candlelight service at the church beginning at 7 p.m.

Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro told WBSM's Phil Paleologos Show that with as much as we know about addiction, there is still a lack of compassion that prevents some people from seeking the help they need.

Reverend David Lima of the Greater New Bedford Interchurch Council said that the city has lost 25 persons to overdoses so far in 2018. Reverend Lima added that the time has come to take a more understanding approach to the problem and let families know of the support groups available.

Seven Hills Behavioral Center Director Connie Rocha-Mimoso says the theme of this year's awareness day event will be "siblings'. Rocha-Momoso said many of do not realize how much the siblings of those with addictions and those who are lost are affected.

Thursday's event is open to the public.