County to participate in Overdose Awareness Day
● By J. Chambless
The county's Department of Drug &
Alcohol Services has announced the county's participation in
International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31.
To mark the occasion, 144 pinwheels will be displayed in front of the Chester County Justice Center on Market Street in West Chester and the Chester County Government Services Center on Westtown Road, representing the 144 lives lost to accidental overdose in Chester County in 2017. Citizens are invited to participate in a moment of silence on Aug. 31 at 9:30 a.m. to remember those lost to overdose and the loved ones left behind.
“Sadly, Chester County lost more loved ones to accidental drug overdose last year than in previous years,” said Vince Brown, executive director of the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services. “Our community, as well as our country, continues to face an opioid and heroin epidemic and the disease of addiction knows no bounds. Addiction does not discriminate against age, race, socioeconomic status or education level.”
Several organizations will be holding events on Aug. 31, including:
A candlelight vigil hosted by Kacie’s Cause at First Baptist Church (415 W. State St., Kennett Square) from 7 to 8 p.m. This event will include featured speakers, a lighting of candles and an open mic sharing for the attendees.
A candlelight vigil hosted by Kacie’s Cause at The Green of Oxford Presbyterian Church (3rd Street, Oxford) from 7 to 9 p.m. This event will include featured speakers, a lighting of candles, ABE the pony, the Kacie’s Cause Mascot, and an open mic sharing for the attendees.
“Building Community, Sharing Hope,” hosted by Pennsylvania Recovery Organization-Achieving Community Together (PRO-ACT), at Charles A. Melton Center (501 E. Miner St., West Chester) from 6 to 8 p.m. This event will include a free buffet dinner, free Narcan, several keynote speakers, recovery resources, and a moment of silence with a luminary ceremony to remember the victims of the disease of addiction.
The Oxford chapter of Kacie's Cause is dedicated to helping eradicate the drug problem in the region, and Tracy Norcini, the group's founder, said this week, “I am absolutely frightened by the depth of drug abuse in Chester County. I see it first-hand in my job at Miller Law in West Chester, and in my prior employment with the Chester County Drug Court program. It seems that just about every arrest has some connection to drug, alcohol or mental health issues. However, there is hope. People recover every day with the help of the community, family and friends. Kacie’s Cause is here to help educate and connect people with treatment.
“At the Vigil on Friday, we will have special speakers, including a mother who has lost a son to overdose, people in recovery, and community members who want to speak their mind through open mic,” Norcini added. “We will have tons of helpful information to distribute. We will have Narcan to be distributed to anyone in need. I also have pill safes that are free to the public, to help protect their legal drugs. Lastly, Abe the mini-horse will be making an appearance.”
For more information and resources, visit the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services website (www.chesco.org/DrugandAlcohol), or call the Chester County Information and Referral line at 866-286-3767.