They’re headquartered in Wadsworth, a somewhat far-flung southern suburb of Cleveland. Beginning in 2015, they have been taking their show — and probably more importantly, their message — on the road across the country, from North Carolina to Pennsylvania to a Native American reservation in South Dakota.
With the cooperation of several local churches, the charitable organization Hope Over Heroin will bring that message to Portsmouth’s Spartan Stadium Aug. 10-11. Hope Over Heroin Operations Director Rosalie Canfield says they hope to attract several thousand people to the two-day event, which will feature music and entertainment, but most importantly, aims at offering those struggling with addiction a way out.
Canfield says several organizational meetings already have been held, mostly at Portsmouth’s Cornerstone United Methodist Church. That church already plays host weekly to a program known as Rejoicing in Recovery, which each Thursday attracts dozens of recovered and recovering addicts to what is essentially a faith-based support group. The program’s leader, identified only as Rhonda D., told The Daily Times she is excited about Hope Over Heroin coming to Portsmouth. Rhonda says having something such as Rejoicing in Recovery available can be incredibly important to those fighting addiction. She adds one of the main things the program does is help addicts begin to form a recovery plan. Canfield saiysHope Over Heroin does much the same.
As most know by now, for whatever reason, Portsmouth and Scioto County are hot spots for heroin and opiate addiction, which is why Canfield’s organization decided to come here. “We’re coming to Portsmouth because there’s a need,” she says.
Not incidentally, Canfield says she is very impressed with Cornerstone and Rejoicing in Recovery.
“They are as passionate as we are about making a difference,” Canfield continues.
Hope Over Heroin is what Canfield calls a non-denominational, faith-based organization. Although planning continues, the first night of the event in Portsmouth starts at 5:30 p.m. with a prayer march/memorial. Canfield says participants will march out from Spartan Stadium with the help of local police in a show of brotherhood and solidarity. They will then return to the stadium for a memorial service for those lost to addiction. Pictures of those who succumbed to addiction (and possibly their families) will be displayed on large screens set up around the stadium.
The evening will also feature live music, motorcycle stunt demonstrations and, on a more serious note, testimonials from addicts and recovered addicts. Some of the latter will be videotaped presentations while participants also will have the chance to speak live. Perhaps most importantly, what Canfield calls the City of Resources will be up and running. As you might expect, the city consists of tents and booths filled with resources and information regarding recovery from addiction. Canfield notes numerous local organizations already have signed up to take part.
“[Addicts] will be able to get the help they need,” she adds, noting Hope Over Heroin will follow any needed protocols. For example, a pregnant woman who is addicted needs different help from other people. Canfield says they will have the resources to send those who need it directly to the hospital. Hope Over Heroin plans to set up a safe house for up to 36 persons to stay overnight, if needed, and then continue on to treatment centers the next day.
Musical acts booked for the event are Decyfer Down and Relentless Flood. Motorcycle demonstrations both nights will be provided by Ride 4 Life, a stunt group Canfield says is led by a former addict.
Hope Over Heroin began in Cincinnati, the vision of three pastors who Canfield says were inspired to act after presiding over the funerals of 14 addicts in one week. Some 10,000 people attended the first event in 2015. There apparently were similar events held at Spartan Stadium in the past, but they were not sponsored by Hope Over Heroin, according to Canfield.
Canfield says her group is in the process of arranging for local speakers such as addiction experts, pastors and so on. For more information, to volunteer for the event or to set up a memorial for a loved one, go online to http://hopeoverheroin.com/portsmouth-oh.
Reach Tom Corrigan at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931