The region may be in the darkest days yet of a protracted opioid crisis, but a rally Sunday aims to lift those struggling with drugs through community support, education and examples of others who have successfully broken heroin’s grip.
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“If I can turn my life around, anyone can,” said Tim Ryan, who’s stuck to a treatment program following jail time after he overdosed driving and put four people in the hospital.
Ryan, of Naperville, Ill., is one of the featured speakers at the Families of Addicts Rally 4 Recovery from 3-6 p.m. at Courthouse Square in Dayton. Organizers expect the event to attract up to 5,000 people.
Just as hope was returning to Ryan’s life, his son Nick overdosed and died from an opioid habit the son had learned from the father.
Ryan first tried heroin in 2001 when it was offered by an acquaintance.
“I thought ‘What’s one bag going to do?,’” he said. “That one bag absolutely destroyed my life, and my family’s and everybody else near and dear to me.”
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Ryan, who once made six figures and owned executive search firms, is the author of “From Dope to Hope.” He is currently national outreach director for Transformations Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center and runs A Man in Recovery Foundation.
“My main message is there’s hope out there. I don’t care what situation you’re in,” he said. “If you put your hand up, we’ll find you the opportunity to get on the road to recovery.”
A signature highlight of past rallies is “The Big Picture,” a group photo that illustrates the number of people in the community touched by opioids, whether as a person in recovery or a supporting family member or friend. Following the photo, 2,600 white, red, yellow and green balloons will be let go to signify journies of recovery.
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Mahajan Therapeutics is a co-sponsor of the rally, adding a mental health presence to the event.
Other rally highlights will include music by Rising Life Band, whose single My Sunny Day is popular on Christian Radio charts, as well as a raffle and food trucks.
A Rally 4 Recovery 5K walk/run will start at 6:15 p.m., hosted by the Drug Enforcement Agency’s “360 Degree Strategy” with proceeds benefitting FOA Families of Addicts and the Montgomery Drug Free Coalition. Call Dave Ashley at 937-823-9198 for more information about the 5K.
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Details about meetings, the rally and updates on the organization can be found at facebook.com/FOAfamilies or FOAfamilies.org.
Free parking and shuttle service will be available between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Parking is available at Sinclair Community College lots B, E or K, shuttle will pick up and drop off at each lot continuously throughout the event. A 5K shuttle bus will run until 8:30 p.m.
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