Local churches band together to fight heroin epidemic

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Local churches and community groups banded together Friday night to fight the heroin epidemic. Hope Over Heroin drew huge crowds to Washington Park Friday night.

Officials chose Washington Park as the location because they say the area is known for the high number of heroin overdoses. They’re hoping people in and around the neighborhood come out to join in their efforts.

“It started with just the news and the tragedy,” Pastor Pat Murray said. “Of so many people dying from Heroin.”

Since Pastor Pat Murray expanded the event to Dayton three years ago it’s grown into a community wide effort. More than 60 local churches and over 30 treatment centers are now setting-up tents this year to lend their support to people struggling with addiction. In last the last two years, Murray says more than 1,300 people have signed up for treatment through Hope Over Heroin.

“It’s the aftercare,” Murray said. “It’s not only the fact that people want to help, but it restores hope for people. Thus the name Hope Over Heroin. There’s a coalition that’s forming for aftercare that’s never been in the Miami Valley before.”

At Friday’s event, thousands in the community came out in support. Pastor Billy Price says the turnout is a testament that what they’re doing is working.

“It’s the aftercare,” Murray said. “It’s not only the fact that people want to help, but it restores hope for people. Thus the name Hope Over Heroin. There’s a coalition that’s forming for aftercare that’s never been in the Miami Valley before.”

At Friday’s event, thousands in the community came out in support. Pastor Billy Price says the turnout is a testament that what they’re doing is working.

“We’ve been going around for the last two years,” Price said. “Doing these events all over the nation.”

Pastor Price says it’s coalition unlike any that’s been put together before.

“This is an in unprecedented thing,” Price said. “That’s going on because of the pastors that operate in this city like Pat Murray and other churches that are bound together in Dayton.”

Pastor Murray says Hope Over Heroin is even drawing support from law enforcement and government officials including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

“Sheriff Plummer and with the fire department who have to deal with this every single day,” Murray said. “They are just looking for someone to come and help so the church has risen up in so many different locations to come out and hit the streets.”

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