We love hearing about communities banding together to help fight addiction. And over in Delaware, a strong movement has been taking place to bring awareness and support for the recovery cause. Thanks to an organization called atTAcK Addiction, more than 3,000 local people united to run an “Erase The Stigma” marathon.
The event consisted of a 5k trail through the region of Old New Castle. Everyone who participated claimed to have known at least one person impacted by a dependency. Sadly, Delaware happens to be one of the states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. So far, over 400 locals from that region have lost their lives because of a painkiller addiction. The numbers have become so alarming that Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long showed up to lend her support to the cause.
“Every day in Delaware, we are losing someone to overdose,” she explained to local news outlets.
The atTAcK organization also has a very personal connection to the movement. Founders Don and Jean Keister lost their son, Tyler, because of an accidental overdose. As they proudly state on their website, the goal now is to help young people realize the dangers of drugs and alcohol so they can avoid similar circumstances.
Those who participated in the 5k displayed signs and t-shirts honoring their lost loved ones. Supporters of of Tyler, for example, wore sweaters labeled with the words, “Ty’s Buccaneers.”
One other interesting component of the event was an effort made to promote overdose awareness. In this regard, special stations were set up that handed out free naloxone; which can be used to save someone’s life if they’re in the midst of an opioid-related OD. Donated by the state, they were part of a special “Opioid Rescue Kit,” which also included CPR tips, recovery resources, nasal atomizers and instructions on how to combat an overdose.
And in case you were wondering, “Erase the Stigma” only covers a fraction of atTAcK’s initiatives. Besides the 5k, they host a special Delaware Reality Tour exhibit which teaches parents and teachers about the dangers of addiction. There are also ongoing lectures, annual picnics, silent auctions which raise money for recovery resources and a gala honoring local heroes.
atTacK has actually garnered enough publicity to make national headlines via online news reports. You can learn more about Don and Jean’s mission by watching their profile video below.