Overdose Awareness event draws thousands
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 262 people died from drug overdoses in Delaware County in 2016. That number more than doubled in 2017 to 492.
About 10,000 people came together Saturday to pay tribute to their loved ones who have fallen to the opioid epidemic at the 4th Annual Overdose Awareness Walk in Eddystone.
“I went because (the walk) isn’t just for awareness but for support and to get people more comfortable with asking for help.” said Samantha Prince, 29, of Aston.
The mile-long walk was fairly quiet and somber, peppered with talk of family and friends who had lost their battle with addiction.
The walk started in memory of Christine CockerHastings’ brother, Chuck Cocker. He died of a heroin overdose while waiting for a recovery house. She organized her first walk that year and was joined later by Valerie Schina.
The walk raised $54,243, which is 72 percent of its goal. The donation page is open until next Saturday for anyone who is interested in donating to the cause.
Organizers are expecting around $75,000 when the website closes. The money will go towards The Bridge for Recovery Foundation, which provides scholarships for people entering recovery houses from a treatment facility to ease the financial burden.
“What we typically do is pay the intake fee and up the first month of rent of a recovery house.” said Valerie Schina, 38, of the Bridge to Recovery Foundation. “The first month of recovery is a very vulnerable period of time for relapse, so we try and eliminate some of the barriers by providing financial support.”
The scholarships are given out in memory of those who were lost to drug overdoses.
“Every time we get a scholarship I mail a letter to the person who got the scholarship at their new recovery house and I ask them to write a thank you letter to the family,” Schina said. She also includes a letter with a stamp to make the process easier.
Since 2016, a Bridge to Recovery Foundation has given out 185 scholarships to people in recovery.
They also are collecting linens and toiletries to give to people entering recovery houses around the tricounty area.
Some 10,000 people gathered Saturday for the 4th Annual Overdose Awareness Walk in Eddystone.
The event raised funds for the Bridge for Recovery Foundation, which provides scholarships for people entering recovery houses from a treatment facility to ease the financial burden.