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Community celebrates recovery at annual walk

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    The backside of event shirts reminded participants there is strength in numbers. DANIELLE DERRICKSON/TIMES NEWS

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    A butterfly rests on an outstretched hand. Participants at Wednesday’s recovery walk released 75 butterflies in honor of those lost to the opioid epidemic. DANIELLE DERRICKSON/TIMES NEWS

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    Purple pinwheels represented the 99 people who have died in Carbon from drug overdose between 2015 and 2018. DANIELLE DERRICKSON/TIMES NEWS

Published September 11. 2019 10:03PM

Dozens gathered at the Community Grove Park in Lehighton to celebrate recovery from addiction during the Carbon-Monroe-Park Commission’s sixth annual recovery walk.

The walk was short, but for those gathered Wednesday afternoon, it carried a lot of significance.

“We spend so much time talking about the epidemic that we’re dealing with, but we don’t take a lot of time to celebrate those people that have been successful and give hope to those that are suffering,” Jamie Drake, the commission’s executive director, said.

Drake added that the event is a chance for people who are recovering from addiction to learn about the resources in their community, like the Carbon-Monroe-Pike commission.

“You get clean, and it’s not like everything’s amazing,” Drake said. “It’s like you land on the planet of reality, where some days are good and some days are bad. But you’ll have people standing by you.”

According to an online database maintained by OverdoseFreePA, there were 99 overdose deaths in Carbon County between 2015 and 2018. Those 99 lives were represented Wednesday by purple pinwheels placed in the park. They were also honored on the basketball court, where 75 butterflies were released in remembrance of those lost to the opioid epidemic.

“We all know the statistics,” state Rep. Doyle Heffley said just before the walk began.

“Recovery is an option,” Heffley continued. “You don’t have to live in a life of addiction.”

The walk took participants once around the block. Some carried signs covered in pictures of people they knew who had died from addiction. Others wore black and purple shirts decorated with the phrase “Rise Together.”

Together, they all shared hope for a future free from addiction’s grip.

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