Daily Local News: For Those Battling Drug Addiction, There’s Hope
Hope filled the air as about 100 people recognized International Overdose Awareness Day, Friday night, at the Charles A. Melton Community Center.
“Building Community Sharing Hope” featured a buffet, keynote speakers, a remembrance ceremony, with a luminary display, vendors and support for those facing addiction.
During the luminary display, candlelit bags spelled out the word “HOPE,” while participants held hands.
Diane Bradley, of Recovery Centers of America, was handing out literature and answering questions.
“We are here to provide recovery and to honor those who are suffering from this disease—to help transition people into treatment,” she said.
Per Hagen is a volunteer coordinator for event sponsor, Chester County PRO-ACT.
“This shows that recovery is possible and there is hope in recovery,” he said. “We’re here to educate the community about overdoses and what’s being done by the county.”
Stacy Roth is with the Malvern Institute.
She talked about spreading awareness.
“We came on Overdose Awareness Day to support the families that lost a loved one and to let them know that there is help available,” Roth said.
Event host Langdon Towne warned that “tomorrow it could be someone you love.”
Keynote speaker Jim Duffy talked about the loss of his 21-year-old son Michael.
“You never expect to lose a child, you don’t expect to outlive them,” he said.
Carly Nagle shared similar sentiments after losing her 34-year old brother, Alex.
“When you grow up with a sibling you think they are always going to be there,” she said. “Keep putting yourself out there to help your loved one.”
Fellow keynote speaker Shawn Martin said the he now “takes nothing for granted anymore.”
Ninety one Americans die every day form opioid overdose.
In 2016, in Chester County, there were 105 total drug-related overdose deaths, including suicides. Of the 105 deaths, 97 were accidental.
The number of overdose deaths is increasing.
Countywide, in 2017, there were 153 total drug-related overdose deaths, including suicides. Of the 153 deaths, 144 were accidental.
The highest population for overdose victims, with 37 percent of the deaths, is ages 25 through 34.
Caucasians make up 91 percent of the deaths and 72 percent are male.
Naloxone medication can save lives. From 2015-2017 it was used 310 times and was successful 292 times.
PRO-ACT is a volunteer-run, grassroots recovery support initiative of The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania. The Council’s mission is to provide resources and opportunities to reduce the impact of addiction, trauma and other related health issues. For more information, visit www.councilsepa.org
For the Chester County Overdose Prevention Task Force website, go to www.stopodchesco.org
For those in need, call a 24/7 statewide phone line at 800-662-HELP (4357). A Chester County line is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call 866-286-3767.