Over­dose Aware­ness event draws thou­sands

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Megan Mil­li­gan Spe­cial to the Times

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Some 10,000 peo­ple gath­ered Sat­ur­day for the 4th An­nual Over­dose Aware­ness Walk in Ed­dy­s­tone.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

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.

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