Opioid Awareness Day Brings Large Crowd To Kirby Park

August 27, 2018
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Opioid Awareness Day Brings Large Crowd To Kirby Park

WILKES-BARRE — Opioid Awareness Day in Kirby Park on Sunday featured a message of hope mixed with warning about the dangers of the opioid epidemic that continues to plague the region and the nation.

The event, organized by the local chapter of Grief Recovery after a Substance Passing, or GRASP, drew a crowd big enough to spill out of Martz Pavilion onto the lawn nearby.

On that lawn sat a quilt, showing the names and faces of local people lost to drug overdoses in recent years. Most of them were young. One man’s date of death was listed as his “Angel-versary.”

Speakers pleaded for greater education about the dangers posed by all drugs, especially opioids, and for more opportunities for those suffering from addiction to find help.

Representatives of numerous social service agencies, set up at booths and tables, offered advice and help to anyone who asked.

Nancy Shaul, of Huntington Creek Recovery Center, took action right away when a man approached her table to say he needed immediate help or he would relapse.

Shaul, herself a recovering addict, sent messages from her cell phone to her many contacts in the recovery community, to arrange for the man to get into a treatment facility.

Her experience on both sides of the addiction treatment world gives her insight into what addicts go through as they find the strength to seek help, Shaul said.

“I know what he was feeling,” she said.

Donna Ginthner, of Plymouth, attended the event for the third straight year in memory of her son, Brandon Ginthner, who died of an overdose in 2015 at age 23.

Ginthner said it’s important for people to realize that addiction can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

“I think a lot of people need to be made aware that drugs are hitting these small towns,” Ginthner said.

She said that her late son, as a child, was part of a group of boys who loved to skateboard together.

Seven of those boys have died from drug overdoses, according to Ginthner.

“We’re losing a generation,” she said.

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