OPIOID VICTIMS REMEMBERED AT VIGIL
Speakers urge community members to help fight drug epidemic
During a memorial for those lost to opioid addiction, Mayor Dianne Herrin led a candlelight vigil and walk, Thursday evening, at the steps of the Historic Chester County Courthouse.
Herrin and more than 40 candleholders wanted to remember those lost, while working to save lives, as part of the Mayor’s Opioid Action Task Force event.
“We are here to remember that we are not here to judge,” Herrin said. “We are here to destigmatize the struggle of addiction and come together as a community to help lift each other.”
Herrin reminded those attending the vigil that opioid addiction is an epidemic and has been declared a statewide disaster emergency by Gov. Tom Wolf.
Herrin noted that the epidemic impacts people of all ages, sexes, the rich and poor, and all ethnicities. Thirty victims in the Greater West Chester Area during 2017 ranged in age from 18 to over 65.
“Addiction is a disease and it changes their brains, their personalities and their priorities as long as they are in the throes of the disease,” she said.
The task force addresses destigmatizing opioid addiction, helps to prevent addiction and connects people to treatment options.
Like many who attended, Rich Mollica lost someone close to opioid addiction.
“Today I refuse to allow this illness to steal the memory of these people I’ve loved and lost,” he said, “You are loved and not alone.” Bob Novotny lost a son. “It will control your thoughts and actions,” he said. “Drug addiction doesn’t care if you die.
“Be aware of those at risk. Talk about this. Take action and become part of the solution. Most importantly, don’t turn away.”
Kevin Patrick Kelly talked about loss.
“Take the love you have for them and give it to every person you meet,” Kelly said.
Herrin ended the vigil with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness,” Herrin said. “Only light can do that.
“Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”
Speaker Kevin Patrick Kelly’s father, Kevin Kelly, holds a candle while remembering those lost to opioids.
Mayor Dianne Herrin and man-about-town Kyle Hudson remember those lost to opioids at Thursday’s vigil.
Opioid victims are remembered as candle lights brighten up the Historic Chester County Courthouse steps.