WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio ranks in the top five states with the highest rates of drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Almost half of the fatal overdoses that took place in Trumbull County last year happened within the city of Warren.
That’s why community members are working to put an end to the epidemic. This year’s Walk Against Heroin was put on by the Braking Point Recovery Center, and for the speakers who have conquered their addiction, their stories made the crowd fall silent.
“It doesn’t have to get as bad as it got for me, but I can say the only way I was able to do what I did is because I surrendered to this disease,” said Nicholas Story, a recovering addict.
The rally and walk are ways the community is fighting against the epidemic, with their sole purpose to raise awareness and show that there is still hope for the sick and suffering.
“I’m personally an addict myself. I’m sober 11 months right now, so I’ve struggled with addiction. My mother was an addict. I’ve had cousins, parents, friends that have passed away,” said Emily Smith, a recovering addict.
It’s also a way to network all the links in the community and bring them together as one.
“Our son was a great athlete, and he got addicted through painkillers. We couldn’t help him at all. He refused help, and then it just got worse and worse and worse. He wanted to do it one more time, and it was too strong, it took his life,” said Raymond Sansota, one of the rally’s speakers.
Not even the scattered showers, thunder and lightning on Sunday put a damper on the spirit of the rally — about 1,500 people were in attendance at the Warren Amphitheater.
“They have to make a choice to stay clean, get professional help and also spiritual help so they can make it, and recover,” Sansota said.
And with recovery comes a promise for the future.
“We want to avoid what could ultimately happen. We want to get the help out there. We want to get these families together, the co-dependents, the people that are so used to nurturing the addict, and doing this for them by showing them how to get the help that they need, for everybody as a whole,” said Ryan Sheridan from the Breaking Point Recovery Center.
Organizers said they couldn’t have asked for a better event, full of people willing to offer hope to one another.
“It boils down to me continuing to remember that everyday I wake up and I’m still the same person. I have to do certain things to not go back to that type of life style. And my life has improved so much it’s amazing,” Story said.