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FRANKLIN COUNTY (Sept. 2, 2019) —  As county residents gathered to remember residents lost in recent years to the opioid crisis, purple lights came on at the Waynesboro Parklet on Main Street, anticipating the beginning of September’s National Recovery Month.

The lights, turned on at the 3rd Annual Loved and Lost vigil Friday evening, will continue to shine this month.

Similar lights go on in Chambersburg and Greencastle tomorrow when Franklin County Commissioners sign a “Recovery Month Proclamation.”

That takes place during a brief ceremony at 9:45 a.m., officially kicking off Recovery month.

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Remembering 96 lives lost

Lindsay Walls, whose brother Marc Brumbaugh died of an overdose three years ago, told several dozen people gathered for the vigil that in spite of efforts to slow the death rate in the current opioid crisis, the county is still seeing too many overdose deaths.

“Our loved ones are still dying and we are still fighting for awareness and against stigma,” she said. “It is time to put an end to the losses and make recovery the epidemic.”

Walls had a notebook with 96 names of overdose victims with her Friday night. They matched the names of 96 luminaries with candles inside, each representing an overdose victim.

REMEMBERING: Luminaries with the names of 96 Franklin County residents who have died of drug overdoes. (Photos courtesy of Lindsay Walls)
REMEMBERING: Luminaries with the names of 96 Franklin County residents who have died of drug overdoes. (Photos courtesy of Lindsay Walls)

“That means that 96 local families are mourning the loss of an irreplaceable part of their family,” she said.

Some families have even lost more than one family member to drug overdoses. Yet, she said, every single one of those losses were losses that loved ones should not have had to endure.

There are many different reasons for drug addiction, local experts say, but recovery is possible.

It is that recovery Walls wants addicts, their families and the community to focus on this month, and going forward.

The road to recovery is a daily challenge and long-term path to wellness. 

Individuals who experience a mental and/or substance use disorder can oftentimes feel isolated and alone.  It’s important that the community continues its efforts within Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery.

‘Even one overdose death is too many’

Walls echoed the words of Franklin County District Attorney Matt Fogal, head of the county’s Overdose Task Force, when he announced the 2018 overdose death numbers last January

“Even one substance use-related death is too many,” she said, urging those struggling with addiction to “make recovery the epidemic.”

September is National Recovery Month, a time to inspire and advocate for individuals and families who are seeking help. 

This year’s Recovery Month theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery:  Together We Are Stronger,” reinforces that those seeking and living in recovery are not alone.

“The well-being of the community is improved through substance use disorder treatment and recovery. This month, we celebrate Franklin County citizens who are in recovery and invite all citizens to participate in National Recovery Month events,” said Commissioner Chairman Dave Keller.

All citizens of Franklin County are encouraged to participate in a recovery event around the county to support community members in need of prevention, treatment, and recovery support services, while also celebrating the accomplishments of individuals who are in recovery.

Recovery Month Activities:

  • “Recovery Month Proclamation” Tuesday from 9:45–10 a.m. at the Franklin County Administrative Annex, 218 N 2nd Street, Chambersburg.
  • Free Recovery Comedy Show with Comedian Kurtis Matthews, Friday, Sept. 6. 8 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre, 159 S Main St, Chambersburg. (doors open at 7 p.m.)
  • “Unity in the Community” Free family fun event to help bring awareness to the recovery community noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at Mike Waters Memorial Park in Chambersburg.

Franklin County Overdose Task Force’s Recovery Is Possible Awareness Campaign:

  • Launched with the message “Recovery is Possible” on billboards in Chambersburg, Waynesboro, Mercersburg and Marion/Greencastle/State Line   
  • Purple light installations located in Chambersburg, Waynesboro and Greencastle: On trunks of 60 trees that line Chambersburg’s Main Street; Memorial Fountain will be up-lighted with the color purple, starting Sept. 3; Downtown Greencastle will showcase purple lighting in the square and various businesses will be up-lighted with purple, starting Sept. 3. 
  • Please visit www.FranklinCoOverdoseTaskForce.org for more information

The theme promotes the positive message that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and recover. 

For information about the events listed above, contact Franklin/Fulton Drug & Alcohol at 717-263-1256 or via email atffda@franklincountypa.gov  for more information.

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