When a loved one is lost to any illness, the grief can be overwhelming, whether that loss is sudden and unexpected or at the end of a lengthy battle.
Addiction is no different.
Wichita Mountain Prevention Network, a non-profit working locally to target opiod and other substance abuse in the region, will host a memorial event at 5:30 p.m. on Monday October 29 at Central Park for community members to pay tribute to those they’ve lost as a result of substance abuse.
“We have been meeting as a community coalition for years,” WMPN Director Jayci Enerson said. “We want to increase community involvement in these efforts and really spotlight the things we’re doing to help make this issue better.”
Enerson said the coalition is made up of several agencies including law enforcement, tribal services, community mental health and medical facilities. “It’s really a group of community members getting together to focus on substance abuse,” Enerson said. “It’s a place for all sectors to put all hands on deck to target this important issue.”
This month’s memorial will be the first of its kind for the agency. The event will include speakers from Ardmore Police Department, The Landing and Southern Oklahoma Treatment Services, Enerson said. Other agencies will be on hand to discuss services available to the community.
The group plans to have a balloon release, where community members can write messages or tributes to lost loved ones and symbollically “let go” of that pain and some grief. “We want people to know they’re not alone — and that there’s life after substance abuse,” Enerson said.