HONESDALE—September marks National Recovery Month, a time to celebrate those who have battled their way through addiction and come out the other side.
In support of those still struggling, those who may have lost their fight, and those in the midst of overcoming addiction, the Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force is hosting a candlelight vigil, “Lights of Hope” in Central Park on Saturday, September 9, starting at 6 p.m.
“Lights of Hope” is a national event taking place in roughly 120 places all across the country, said task force spokesperson Drew Rusich.
It was started by national support group “The Addict's Mom,” an organization which formed to aid families of those who struggle with addiction.
“It's no secret that heroin is destroying an entire generation of people,” he stated.
According to the 2015/16 Wayne County Drug & Alcohol Commission report, heroine/opioid usage accounted for 71 percent of the 89 new recovery program inpatients and a total of 43 percent of the 569 clients seen that year.
Though both of these percentages are lower than those for the 2014/15 report, they are still quite high.
In both reports, heroin/opioids were listed as the number one primary drug of choice for the commission's clients in recovery programs.
Vigil attendees will be presented a candle to light in reverent recognition of their or their loved ones' experience with addiction and recovery.
Candles presented will be of four colors, each representing an individual's story: red candles are for those in active addiction, white candles are for those in recovery, black candles are for those who have died due to addiction, and grey candles are for those who are incarcerated due to addiction.
One of the main goals of the vigil is to illuminate how widespread heroine and opioid abuse is and show attendees where help is available, said Rusich.
He added that “Lights of Hope” looks to reduce or eliminate any negative perceptions which may surround addiction so that those affected may get the help they need.
The vigil will feature a series of speakers recounting personal experiences with their own addiction/recovery or that of someone close to them.
Additionally, there will be tables set up from organizations like Wayne County Drug & Alcohol, Pennsylvania Treatment and Healing (PATH), and Just Believe recovery center.
Each will feature literature and other information regarding addiction treatment and recovery.
“We want the community to know where to get help,” said Rusich.
“We just really hope that we can get a nice turnout.”
The Wayne County Heroin Task Force travels throughout the county and hosts informational meetings on the third Thursday of every month to educate residents on many topics relating to heroin addiction and recovery.
For more information, notifications on their upcoming meetings and events, or to ask questions, those interested are advised to consult the task force's Facebook page: Wayne County Heroin Prevention Task Force.