ROPE

Cecil Whig - - LO­CAL -

for Ce­cil County, a re­cov­ery ad­vo­cacy group that or­ga­nized the event.

“They stopped to ask us for help,” he re­called. “We got her into re­hab.”

She now has al­most a year of so­bri­ety, he added.

Voices of Hope sup­port­ers are look­ing for that same kind of suc­cess and more af­ter the sec­ond “Hu­man Rope” event was held Satur­day. Dozens of peo­ple, many wear­ing “Heroin Kills” shirts, gath­ered along Route 40 to wave signs in an ef­fort to raise aware­ness about ad­dic­tion. While a sim­i­lar event has been held in Har­ford County for years, Voice of Hope started the event in Ce­cil County for the first time last year.

In ad­di­tion to rais­ing aware­ness, Raftery said Voices of Hope is work­ing to close cracks in the sys­tem that make get­ting help harder for those in the throes of ad­dic­tion.

“We’re con­nect­ing with the com­mu­nity, ed­u­cat­ing the ad­dict and help­ing the fam­i­lies af­fected by this dis­ease,” he said, adding ad­dic­tion is not a moral de­fi­ciency. “It can never be cured, but it can be ar­rested.”

Raftery said one of the most am­bi­tious goals for Voices of Hope is to es­tab­lish a com­mu­nity re­source cen­ter.

“This is where ad­dicts and their fam­i­lies can get the help they need,” he said.

James Wil­son was pleased to par­tic­i­pate in Satur­day’s event.

“I’ve been a Nar­cotics Anony­mous mem­ber for 14 years,” Wil­son said. “I’ve re­lapsed, but I have had clean times. I keep com­ing back. It’s about oth­ers. It’s not about me.”

For Wil­son, his suc­cess is con­nected to his faith.

“God be­lieves in you. You should be­lieve in Him,” Wil­son said. “If He didn’t be­lieve in you, you wouldn’t be here.”

Lisa Smith with On Our Own, a men­tal health sup­port sys­tem with of­fices in Elk­ton, gave her own spir­i­tual take on ad­dic­tion.

“Ad­dic­tion is the devil’s work,” Smith said.

Brit­ney Wag­ner, mean­while, urged ad­dicts to get help.

“Peo­ple in re­cov­ery share with each other,” Wag­ner, from Elk­ton, said. “There’s no rea­son to hide. If you want help, there are re­sources.”

For Erin Woodie, it was a day to be happy.

“I’m ex­cited,” the Elk­ton wo­man said as she danced with a sign in her hands. “(Re­cov­ery) works. It saves peo­ple’s lives.”

Woodie also said the pub­lic needs to un­der­stand the strug­gles of ad­dic­tion and get­ting clean.

“Not enough peo­ple know about this way of life,” she said.

While Woodie stood along Route 40 Satur­day and loudly called at­ten­tion to her sign, at­tract­ing honks and waves from pass­ing mo­torists, one of the youngest sign bear­ers was sub­dued.

Pey­ton Ohrt, 8, stood qui­etly, hold­ing a “Hu­man Rope to Stop the Dope” sign and wav­ing. Ohrt lost his father to ad­dic­tion.

James Ables, the Ris­ing Sun man who helped bring the event from Har­ford into Ce­cil County, said this year’s event had twice the num­ber of sign hold­ers, in­di­cat­ing to him that the word is get­ting out and sup­port is grow­ing.

Elk­ton Po­lice Chief Matt Don­nelly agreed.

“This is help­ing to bring aware­ness to the is­sue,” he said, adding that the prob­lem isn’t unique to Elk­ton. “It’s bad through­out the county. Or­ga­ni­za­tions and events like these we have here to­day are im­por­tant to the is­sue and to also sup­port those in re­cov­ery.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Nathan Hodge, from North East, said he has lost too many friends to ad­dic­tion. That’s why he took part in the “Hu­man Rope to Stop the Dope” event Satur­day in Elk­ton.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JANE BELLMYER

Pey­ton Ohrt, 8, lost his father to ad­dic­tion. The Elk­ton boy was the youngest stand­ing along Route 40 Satur­day morn­ing par­tic­i­pat­ing in the “Hu­man Rope to Stop the Dope” event hosted by Voices of Hope.

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