U-Turn in Carbonear took to the streets Thursday night, Nov. 29, to help spread a message with the help of dozens of their supporters.
It was a walk around the block, starting at 7 p.m., led by emergency vehicles with sirens wailing, meant to grab the attention of passersby to spread a message for National Addictions Awareness Week.
U-Turn, a drug addiction recovery drop-in centre located in Carbonear, got together with first responders and local citizens, as well as people who have either made use of the help offered by the centre, to raise awareness of those struggling with drug addiction, and those who have lost their battle with addiction.
Jeff Bourne is the executive director of U-Turn.
He says the walk — Thursday night’s was the third annual — goes beyond just raising awareness. The event also aims to fight the stigma of addiction.
“Unfortunately, there’s still this big stigma attached to addictions, and it really shouldn’t be anymore,” he said. “There have been something like 55 overdoses in Newfoundland and Labrador in the last two-years; I think it’s time people realize this is a problem. We can’t ignore it.”
The theme for this year’s walk was “All Walks of Life.”
“Addiction isn’t just the alcoholic people picture with a long coat and a brown paper bag in their hands,” Bourne said. “Addiction is people that come from all walks of life – doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses . . . anyone can be on the road to recovery. Addiction doesn’t just affect one certain group of people.”
Thursday night’s walk ended with a small gathering at U-Turn’s building on Industrial Crescent, where Bourne, as well as some representatives of some neighbouring towns and other organizations, spoke to the crowd about the topic at hand.
The night ended with the group joining hands to recite the Lord’s Prayer.
Deaths in Newfoundland relating to opiate addictions in the last year
-10 deaths in the age range of 20-29-years-old
-16 deaths in the age range of 30-39-years-old
-11 deaths in the age range of 40-49-years-old
-7 deaths in the age range of 50-59-years-old
-7 deaths in the age range of 60-79-years-old
Statistics provided Thursday night by Jeff Bourne, U-Turn
Drop in centre at 18 Industrial Crescent, Carbonear
Founded in 2011 by Jeff Bourne
Services and programs include:
· Referrals to addiction treatment and continuing care services
· Individual and group peer support
· Family support
· Resources information
· Addiction recovery education
· Recreational opportunities and special events
· Community outreach
· Partnerships with other community organizations
· Committee involvement and advocacy at the local and provincial level
Phone: (709) 595-3223