An estimated 1,200 people flooded the Highland County Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday for Hope Over Heroin, a faith-based event designed to bring together treatment resources for those in urgent need of help with opiate addiction, according to coordinator Kim Davis.
Davis said approximately 60 people were baptized at the event, while 13 attendants were assessed for treatment programs, nine were placed in treatment and five more are currently following up this week.
Davis, who works as a drug and alcohol counselor at FRS Counseling in Hillsboro, called the event a success.
“It was definitely energetic,” Davis told The Times-Gazette on Monday. “It was moving, seeing lives restored and addiction broken… The hope and the love of God was the message, and the public responded.”
Davis said she felt the impact of the event as well.
“I’ve had person after person come up to me and just hug me and thank me and tell me what this weekend meant to them,” Davis said. “When you have families who have been mourning the death of their loved one but didn’t have a way to commemorate it, when you see moms and their kids getting baptized together, you know that God’s not giving up on this generation, and that makes it all worth it, absolutely.”
Davis said Hope for Highland County, an informal group of concerned community members and treatment personnel instrumental in planning HOH, will continue to do its part in fighting the opiate epidemic locally.
“Our objective was to reach the community and bring Hope Over Heroin to Highland County,” she said. “This event was just the beginning. We’re going to continue to do fundraisers, and our goal is to bring some kind of sober living transitional housing to the area. People are desperate for a clean environment, and that’s a big downfall when people go through treatment and they have to go back to the same environment they were living in before.”
In the meantime, Davis said, the group will hold outreach events featuring food, music and treatment information.
Davis credited the 150 volunteers and various community entities that made the event possible.
“I just want to thank everyone who participated, from the volunteers to the treatment agencies, to those who gave donations of money and food, and I want to thank the community for coming out and supporting us,” Davis said, “and those who committed time and prayer – prayer was a huge part of this as well. Every obstacle we came up against, every need we had, God provided everything we needed.”
Davis also extended gratitude to churches involved in the event.
A post-Hope Over Heroin event is set to be held Saturday, June 24 at 2 p.m. at Good News Gathering, on U.S. Route 62 at the south edge of Hillsboro. Davis said she hopes to present a video recap of the weekend’s activities there.
According to its website, Hope Over Heroin holds weekend rallies in communities throughout the United States, uniting dozens of addiction and grief recovery resources within the community to provide instant accessibility for those in urgent need of help.
More information can be found by visiting hopeoverheroin.com.
Hope for Highland County can also be found on Facebook.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.