At the same meeting many tears were shed. In the latter half of the meeting SOLACE members and supporters gathered at the Marting’s Building display window to witness four more photos pinned to the wall displaying photos of those who have been lost to drug-related deaths.
“We do this (display photos) in honor of them (the ones who were lost). We’re taking our community back, were not going to let any more drug-related deaths happen,” Jo Anna Krohn said as the photos were being pinned to the wall.
Added to the wall were the photos of Dustin Blankenship, Lisa Pick, Timothy Cantrell and Garrett Maloney. Maloney died May 1 when police say two men shot and killed him over drugs.
After the meeting, the group and about 250 community members gathered in Tracy Park in Portsmouth to take part in a candlelight vigil to honor the memory of Garrett Maloney.
Film crews from National Geographic and ABC News’ Nightline followed SOLACE members throughout the evening’s events.
Officials with National Geographic declined to comment but said they are filming for a show that will air later in the year.
Southern Ohio has received attention from several national media organizations recently, including The Associated Press, The New York Times, Men’s Health Magazine, A&E and Al Jazeera TV, which has put a national and even global spotlight on the area’s fight against prescription drug abuse.
“The Dr. Oz show has called and they are in the process of putting together a panel for a show that will air next week. There is a possibility that I may be on that panel,” said Lisa Roberts, public health nurse with the Portsmouth City Health Department. Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner was invited, she said, but has a scheduling conflict. “We’re not sure who else is going to be on the panel.”
If Roberts is invited to sit on the panel she will be flown to New York to take part.
“Anytime you get free publicity and press it’s a good thing, although it’s a shame we have to air our dirty laundry like this. Only with this kind of national recognition will other communities be spared. I think we are doing the world a favor and I think we are doing ourselves a favor; already good things are happening,” Roberts said.
WAYNE ALLEN may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.