Walk Against Addiction: Raising awareness, asking questions

By on September 5, 2017

September’s Savings Lives Task Force article focuses on the 8th Annual Walk Against Addiction and is written from a first person perspective by Brenda Thacker and Tori Peters.

Each month the Outer Banks Voice features an article from the Task Force.

We began the walks because we shared a similar story where substance abuse was concerned. We had loved ones who suffered from the disease of addiction.

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To endure this journey alone is a heartbreaking, frightening and at times hopeless feeling.

We were frustrated with the lack of resources and help available to persons with addiction in Dare County and exasperated by the lack of awareness about the breadth of the problem and people’s unwillingness to discuss it.

Our central goal was to spread the message that addiction is a treatable and preventable disease and not something to be ashamed of.

If more people recognize that addiction is a disease, and not something to be ashamed of, more people might seek help.

One of our hopes is to educate people that there are different ways to cope with anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, ADHD and stresses of everyday life — exercise, Outer Banks Bootcamps, running, yoga, meditation, nature and having open communication and support from family and friends.

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Since our initial Walk Against Addiction on Sept. 15, 2010, we see that drug and alcohol addiction, especially opioid addiction, is finally being recognized as a national health crisis. We would like to see health care professionals offering alternatives to “pill popping.”

We have been asked through the years, what is done with the money you raise at your walk?

Tori Peters and Brenda Thacker.

We are a “boots on the ground” organization and have helped provide transportation to detox, therapy and rehab when someone suffering from addiction has no means of transportation. We have purchased bicycles for residents on Hatteras Island to get back and forth to therapy/counseling. We have paid for therapy and rent for Oxford Houses and other sober living houses.

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As all of our “staff” are volunteers we have no overhead expenses.

Our 8th Annual Walk Against Addiction will be held Saturday Sept. 9, 2017 at First Flight High School on Veterans Drive in Kill Devil Hills. Sign-in begins at 9 a.m. We will be offering coffee (compliments of Starbucks) and bagels (compliments of Barrier Island Bagels) during sign-in. The Kill Devil Hills Roller Derby girls will be skating through the parking lot.

A $10 donation earns one a tote bag; $15 t-shirts are available as are $15 cookbooks, “Cooking With Blue.”

Blue Moon Beach Grill and Blue Water Grill and Raw Bar compiled the cookbook and are generously donating profits to the Walk Against Addiction. Thank you, Will Shields.

There will be vendors present with information concerning all areas of addiction; treatment, prevention and alternatives to drug use.

Volunteers

Dr. Christine Petzing and Kurtis Taylor will be our speakers this year, and they will begin at 10 a.m. When the speakers conclude their remarks, 12 doves will be released by affected/effected participants signifying the 12 steps of recovery; compliments of When Doves Fly.

After dove release, we will begin our walk through the parking lots of First Flight Elementary, First Flight Middle and back to First Flight High School parking lots, where the good folks of Mighty Wind United Methodist Church will be grilling complimentary hamburgers an hot dogs compliments of Affinity Bail Bonds.

We hope you will join us on our walk to fight this deadly epidemic that is killing 142 persons each DAY in the USA.

We asked Tori if she had any additional comments. She said: “May I ask this question? Are we a nation that can only exist with a pill for everything in this journey we call life? It is my hope that advertising prescription drugs will be banned from television.

“It saddens me that many prison systems, judicial systems, rehabilitation treatment centers and sober homes and counselors, take advantage of desperate families trying to help their loved ones, all the while taking money from them, with recovery being rare.”

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