Rally brought light to addiction

Mother, fathers, sons and daughters, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Drug addiction does not discriminate among the masses.

Portsmouth had a rally this past weekend to celebrate recovery to those who have fought the battle and are now clean and sober from their past.

About 2,000 people attended the event Saturday and Sunday to hear encouragement from performers such as Haystack and others who, in between songs, talked about their past and how they fought the battle of addiction and came out victorious.

Too many times we see or hear about a neighbor or family member who has lost their battle with addiction. It is far too familiar to see in the obituaries, names of people whose ages are in low 20s and 30s, leaving behind a family as well as friends. Listening to some of the crowd talking to each other, I couldn’t help but hear them talking about their friends and family who are no longer with them.

It was great to see so many local people join together and show their support to one another. After stumbling into the darkness for whatever reason, they are now walking into the light once again. They will require treatment, counseling and therapy for years to come to fight the battle, but they can be proud to say they are sober.

Kudos to people like John Evans, who has been sober for nearly a decade. He works tirelessly for those who need his help. He was at the event, with many family members working to make sure every person in attendance was taken care of.

As someone who has never done drugs or battled any type of addiction, I attended this rally as an “outsider” looking in. But I saw the light at the end of the dark tunnel. I talked to a few recovering addicts who told their story. Their story of almost turning to prostitution to pay for their habit. But now they are back with their family, back with their children, never to turn back. Some who were close to death before changing their lives.

I am writing this because day after day, I’m posting obituaries and criminal indictments about those who did not overcome this addiction. I want others to see it is possible, that there is light at the end of the dark tunnel. Like the rapper Haystack said in his performance, it isn’t easy. It’s tough. But when you ask God, He will help you through it. God has provided very talented sponsors and counselors in this area who will help those in need. All you have to do is ask for it. But you have to want sobriety more than the darkness of addiction.

This week when I was processing the indictment list from the Scioto County Grand Jury, of the 30 indictments, nearly half were drug related. This is also a common occurrence week after week. And these do not include the cases that are in drug court where a defendant has agreed to undergo treatment and counseling and not be charged with a felony.

With 2,000 people at the rally this weekend who are celebrating recovering, the work has just begun. There are many others today who are in need of help to find themselves once again. Local leaders will tell you the biggest problem we have here is not the economy, or anything else. Instead, it it opioid addiction.

One the the most horrifying examples of addiction destroying a family is the story of the death of young Dylan Groves, who was born an addict and died at just two months old. Both parents are now in jail awaiting trial for various charges including aggravated murder.

So lets all work together and make sure another situation like young Dylan does not happen again. Lets work together to educate our youth on the dangers of illicit drug use. And lets work with the state legislature to enact tougher sentencing to those who are bringing this poison into our communities. It may not necessarily be a crime to be an addict, but it is a crime to be a drug dealer, and they should be held accountable and liable for every life they have destroyed with their poison.