PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles Citizen Action Network and The Answer For Youth will host the fourth annual Overdose Awareness Walk in Port Angeles on Friday with the goal of spreading hope for people battling addiction.
“We’re going to spin it in more of a positive, that people can turn around from this and that there is hope at the end,” said Rachel Ringer, a PA-CAN board member.
“The more that we know about this, the more we can make a difference.”
Between 2011 and 2015, Clallam County had the second highest overdose death rate in the state and sat nearly 50 percent over the state average, according to the state Department of Health.
The walk is scheduled to start in front of the Clallam County Courthouse bell tower at 5 p.m. Aug. 31. The group will walk north and finish at City Pier, where there will be multiple speakers.
Speakers at the event include the Revs. Joe Descala and Tom Steffan, survivors and members of the recovery community.
Danny Wollam, who will serve as master of ceremonies, knows first-hand that it is possible to get sober. Wollam, an Oxford House resident and PA CAN board member, said he has about 2.5 years clean.
He hopes people who are in active addiction will attend the event and see that they too can get clean.
“There’s such a bad stigma around being an active drug addict and alcoholic, and I get it, because some of us don’t do great things when we’re in that state of mind,” Wollam said.
“Even if this lets one person see that people might be able to change their lives, if one person in active addiction is there, then it’s well worth the time, energy and effort.”
Last year there were 31 reported opioid-related overdoses and six opioid-related deaths in Clallam County, according to Clallam County’s Department of Health and Human Services.
People are encouraged to bring signs to hold during the walk, pictures of loved ones and anything else to get their message across.
The walk is just one of hundreds planned across the world on International Overdose Awareness Day.
Ringer said there will be two sign making parties ahead of the walk. The first is Sunday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at TAFY, 826 E. First St. Attendees are asked to not bring children under 5 years old.
The second event is a poster making party and potluck on Monday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church social hall, 110 E. Seventh St. Children are welcome, and the event entrance is on the Laurel Street side of the building.
For more information, visit PA-CAN’s Facebook page.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].