Walk Away from Drugs

Published 11:55 am Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The prevalence of drug use in the southern Appalachian area is a continuous struggle for cities and counties all around the region, including Bell County.

There are many events, organizations and lectures held locally to spread the word on the drug and opioid epidemic sweeping not just the area, but America as well. One of the newest grassroots events is the local Walk Away from Drugs event, scheduled for May 6 at the Middlesboro city parking lot.

The event will feature free food, DJ John Day, guest speakers, representatives from Operation UNITE, a balloon release and other activities.

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The event was created by April Wallace and Angie Asher, who are both recovered addicts.

”I have been on both sides of the fence dealing with addiction. Every single person deals with addiction in their family, so that’s where this event came into place…an event to bring everyone together such as active addicts, recovering addicts, families that suffered to addiction, and friends who want to prevent and/or seek help for the one who still suffers. The event is all about awareness, and showing recovery is possible,” said Wallace.

Wallace also stated that the main goal of Walk Away from Drugs is to get the community educated on addiction, as she feels the more a community is educated on the subject of addiction, the better equipped that community is to handle it.

”They would know who to call, and what steps to take if one wants to seek help…also, it’s to show our community recovery works. I’m 939 days clean after 20 years of using something everyday. Our community needs to know recovery is very possible with a little education and a lot of support,” she said.

People who attend the event can expect to hear personal stories of recovery as well as connect with local rehab facilities.

“Events like this are not only important, but a must. Look around at our community — addiction is on every corner. Look at the jail records — we as a community have to step up, stop complaining about the drug addicts and put some action into it! Get educated, this event is set up to do just that,” said Wallace.

Wallace hopes to see a good turnout this year, as she feels some are reluctant to come to events such as this. There may be different reasons — due to being tired of the constant discussion of drugs or the hurt a person may have gone through due to drugs impacting their life.

”If people could just take a few hours of their time May 6 and come out to the event, and see and hear stories of people that have overcome addiction, and by seeing what has been done by just a few people coming together and trying to make a difference can do, just imagine if more people got involved…” she said.

The event starts at 1 p.m. and runs until 5 p.m.