Bennington candlelight vigil to be held for victims of addiction


BENNINGTON >> There will be a candlelight vigil in memory of those who have lost their lives to addiction.

The vigil is being hosted by the Turning Point Center on March 12, 5:30 p.m. in front of the Bennington Town Office at 205 South Street. In case of bad weather, the event will be held at the First Baptist Church at 601 Main Street. A reception will also be held at the church following the event.

"This in an effort to bring some positive light to Bennington," said Turning Point Director Joan Walsh. "We're doing it for the community, but ultimately it would bring some positive light. Everything is so about the drug itself and the person using them, hopefully this will bring a different perspective to it"

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse there were nearly 30,000 drug overdose deaths in the United State in 2014. The numbers have been steadily rising since at least 2001 when there were around 10,000 reported deaths.

Walsh said Bennington County has seen it's share of overdoses, as well as related deaths.

"(The vigil is) not only for people that have overdoses, it's also for people who have lost family members to drunk driving, or a drug related incident," said Maria Donza, administrative assistant at Turning Point.

She said the mother of a recent, local, overdose victim is expected to speak at the vigil. Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary is expected to speak, as are some local faith leaders.

"There's very few, if any, people who don't' know somebody that's struggling with addiction, or a family members. It's all over," said Walsh.

Addiction can be difficult for people to understand, which makes having a loved suffer from it that much harder, especially since addicts have to want to seek help before they can benefit from it.

"It's different for everybody," said Walsh. "Everyone has a different reason. When they're ready, it can happen. But it doesn't mean we don't support them and love them, we just don't enable them."

The goal of the vigil is to put a human face on the people suffering from addiction, she said.

"The Bennington vigil hopes to raise awareness and open the doors to recovery by eliminating prejudice against those suffering from this debilitating disease, a disease that impacts individuals in all walks of life. With the removal of shame comes the hope for survival," she said.

— Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567 Ext. 115


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