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Hundreds Rally Against Heroin Epidemic

TOWANDA — Grief, anguish, heartbreak, and anger drove a show of force outside the Bradford County Courthouse against what’s being called an epidemic...
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TOWANDA -- Grief, anguish, heartbreak, and anger drove a show of force outside the Bradford County Courthouse against what's being called an epidemic.

Hundreds gathered at the courthouse in Towanda for the Bradford County Addiction Awareness Rally, with a focus on one drug in particular: heroin.

“This is our reality. This is the reality of heroin. This is it. There's no end. You will die. It will kill you,” said April Swain of Canton.

Swain was among many at the rally who lost a loved one to heroin; her son overdosed in February.

“One night he went too far and now he's gone and our life's never been the same,” said Swain.

More than 20 agencies set up informational booths, showing what services are available to help combat addiction.

However, Liz DeWolfe from Forkston in Wyoming County says a trip to rehab may not be enough. Her son overdosed last year in Florida, where he was in treatment.

“It's got to stop, this has got to stop,” said DeWolfe. “He wanted to be clean, he wanted to be sober, he did, but this addiction, it just gets so ahold of somebody and it's hard to let go. It's hard for them to let go.”

Keith Kinsman also lost his son in February. He and his church helped organized the rally in the hopes another family doesn't have to feel his pain.

“I’m hearing from just hundreds of people that are reaching out, telling their stories, and it is absolutely an epidemic. We're in a crisis right now, so this is all about awareness,” said Kinsman.

“His friends knew, they didn't think it was important to tell me, so his family couldn't reach out to him. If we could have, maybe we could have helped,” said Swain.

“I lost my only son to this disease. I lost my only child. He's gone, he's not coming back,” said DeWolfe.

The rally concluded with a candlelight vigil, not only marking the lives lost to heroin, but also marking a symbol of hope that other lives can still be saved in the future.