HUNTSVILLE, Ala.- Hundreds of community members joined Not One More Alabama for the annual End Heroin HSV Walk at Big Spring Park in Huntsville on Saturday. NOMA is an all-volunteer Huntsville-based non-profit organization founded in 2016 by individuals who realized their knowledge and support is valuable to others impacted by the disease of addiction
The purpose of End Heroin Huntsville, to provide support for those impacted by addiction, celebrate those who have found recovery and remember those who lost their battle with addiction.
"This disease no longer lives in the closet. It is out front and virtually every family is affected by this. There is no family that is not touched by the disease of addiction," said Reverend Paul Pradat of St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
Although the name of the free event is “End Heroin HSV,” coordinators acknowledge that heroin is not the only substance killing our loved ones, and Huntsville is not the only area affected by the explosion of opioid dependency. Huntsville is simply where the walk takes place.
Family and friends gathered to walk for their loved ones they've lost and for those in recovery.
"So many people say it can't happen to their family. It can happen to any family," says Jeannie Shelnutt.
Jeannie Shelnutt lost her daughter to an overdose in 2017. She says she's thankful for organizations like not one more that bring awareness to addiction.
"It brings me hope that the stigma surrounding opioid abuse or any kind of addiction will be swept out," says Shelnutt.
Many stepped forward into a Recovery Circle at the walk. The circle was an opportunity to recognize those in recovery whether for days, months or years. A “Hope for Recovery” medallion was shared to commemorate the event.
There were 34 organizations present offering resources and help. Shelnutt urges people battling an addiction to remember they are not alone.
"Just reach out and ask for help," says Shelnutt.
The message at end heroin Huntsville was loud and clear. RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE...
Representatives from UAB Medicine and Auburn University Harrison School of Pharmacy will be on-hand to train and distribute free NARCAN, the life-saving drug naloxone that reverses the effects of opioids.
Click here for resources from Not One More.