Thou­sands ex­pected for Color 5K run/walk

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

Ch­ester County Com­mis­sion­ers and Dis­trict At­tor­ney Tom Ho­gan have an­nounced the sup­port of In­de­pen­dence Blue Cross as the “Trans­for­ma­tion” pre­sent­ing spon­sor of the third an­nual Color 5K run and walk, rais­ing funds to com­bat the opi­oid and heroin epi­demic.

This year’s Color 5K will take place at Ever­hart Park in West Ch­ester, on Satur­day, Nov. 10. Reg­is­tra­tion be­gins at 8 a.m. and the race starts at 9 a.m.

There will be 17 or­ga­ni­za­tions at­tend­ing the Color 5K pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion on drug and al­co­hol ser­vices, com­mu­nity-based sup­ports, and lo­cal and re­gional ef­forts to com­bat the opi­oid cri­sis and more.

For the first time, ProAct (Penn­syl­va­nia Re­cov­ery Or­ga­ni­za­tion – Achiev­ing Com­mu­ni­ties To­gether) will be dis­tribut­ing a lim­ited sup­ply of Nar­can free to any­one who re­quests it, as well as in­for­ma­tion on how to ad­min­is­ter Nar­can.

Ch­ester County re­mains com­mit­ted to tack­ling the opi­oid and heroin epi­demic through in­ten­sive health, ed­u­ca­tion, treat­ment, and law en­force­ment mea­sures, co­or­di­nated by the Over­dose Pre­ven­tion Task Force. The Color 5K at­tracted more than 1,000 par­tic­i­pants and sup­port­ers in 2017, and raised $38,000.

“We thank In­de­pen­dence Blue Cross for join­ing us for this year’s Color 5K, mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion that will truly help us as we con­tinue to raise funds and aware­ness to fight this ad­dic­tion cri­sis,” said Ch­ester County Com­mis­sion­ers’ Chair Michelle Kich­line. “I also want to note the amaz­ing com­mu­nity sup­port that we have re­ceived for the Color 5K over the past two years, which re­gret­tably proves that there are many peo­ple in Ch­ester County who have been af­fected by this epi­demic.”

“At In­de­pen­dence Blue Cross, we are proud to sup­port the com­pre­hen­sive and com­pas­sion­ate work be­ing done in Ch­ester County to tackle the opi­oid epi­demic,” said Richard L. Sny­der, M.D., In­de­pen­dence Blue Cross Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer. “This cri­sis is one of the great­est health chal­lenges of our times – and as the re­gion’s largest health in­surer we are com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions and so­lu­tions that help our com­mu­ni­ties and the thou­sands of peo­ple af­fected by opi­oid and heroin abuse.”

Funds raised through this year’s Color 5K will con­tinue to sup­port the in­no­va­tive pro­gram called COPE – Com­mu­nity Out­reach and Pre­ven­tion Ed­u­ca­tion – that is spe­cific to Ch­ester County. Through this pro­gram, opi­oid over­dose sur­vivors who are be­ing treated in the emer­gency room at Ch­ester County Hos­pi­tal and Brandy­wine Hos­pi­tal can meet with a cer­ti­fied re­cov­ery spe­cial­ist within an hour of com­ing into the ER. The re­cov­ery spe­cial­ist en­gages with the over­dose sur­vivor and pro­vides per­sonal sup­port and a di­rect con­nec­tion to treat­ment and re­cov­ery ser­vices.

“The goal of COPE is to

move the over­dose sur­vivor from the ER to treat­ment – with his or her ap­proval – re­gard­less of in­sur­ance sta­tus, and to work with the sur­vivor and fam­ily on how to nav­i­gate in­sur­ance cov­er­age and ways to get treat­ment,” said Com­mis­sioner Kathi Coz­zone. “The re­cov­ery spe­cial­ist also meets with fam­ily mem­bers to give im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion, pro­vide Nar­can and ed­u­cate them how to use it.”

Com­mis­sioner Ter­ence Far­rell added: “Never be­fore has a ser­vice like this been avail­able to this ex­tent, and the COPE pro­gram has be­come a re­al­ity, in part, thanks to the money raised by the Ch­ester County Color 5K events in 2016 and 2017. We hope that, with even more money raised at this year’s event, we can be­gin to roll out the COPE pro­gram to more hos­pi­tals in Ch­ester County.”

Ch­ester County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Tom Ho­gan said: “Ch­ester County law en­force­ment and pub­lic of­fi­cials are con­tin­u­ing our all­out of­fen­sive against the opi­oid epi­demic. We ar­rest drug deal­ers, seek treat­ment for ad­dicts, build sup­port for fam­i­lies, and ed­u­cate our com­mu­nity. The an­nual Color 5K is one more valu­able tool that Ch­ester County uses as we join the rest of the na­tion in fight­ing this bat­tle to save lives.”

Spon­sor­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties for the Ch­ester County Color 5K are avail­able at many lev­els for com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als. For more in­for­ma­tion on lev­els of spon­sor­ship, con­tact Re­becca Brain, Ch­ester County Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Co­or­di­na­tor, at 610-344-6279 or email rbrain@chesco.org.

For de­tails of the event and to reg­is­ter in ad­vance, go to http://chesco.org/col­or5k.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The third an­nual Coloir 5K run and walk to raise funds to com­bat the opi­oid and heroin epi­demic takes place Satur­day, Nov. 10 in West Ch­ester.

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