• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

‘Crusade Against Addiction’ set for June 10

The second annual “Crusade Against Addiction” will be held in downtown Versailles on Saturday, June 10, beginning at 7 p.m. This walk raising awareness and showing support for the community in its fight against substance abuse will begin at Woodford County High School and conclude on the steps of the Woodford County Courthouse. Information will also be available to anyone needing access to recovery resources. The “Crusade Against Addiction” was organized by Raising Awareness Woodford County (R.A.W.) – a nonprofit group comprised of recovering addicts and community leaders who want to bring awareness to the effects of drug abuse and overdose deaths in Woodford County. “We still have people in this town who are losing family members to overdose, and who are struggling with addiction and reaching out for help,” said Angie Stewart, herself a recovering addict. “…There’s a continuing need for our group in this town.” R.A.W. has helped drug users get into treatment and its members have spent countless hours offering support to them and their families, according to Stewart. “So we are making a difference, but not as big as we’d like to (make),” she said. “Our longtime goal is to have a sober living home here in Versailles because that’s still a continuing problem. When somebody needs help there’s nowhere for them to go. Every rehab facility has waiting lists.” During last year’s inaugural “Crusade Against Addiction,” Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott told those gathered at the courthouse steps that it’s ineffective and too costly to put drug addicts in jail. “That approach has been tried and it doesn’t work,” he said. “Jailing addicts is like treating the symptom and ignoring the disease.” Of the 165 R.A.W. t-shirts available for last year’s “Crusade Against Addiction” – none remained when a candlelight vigil concluded the community awareness event, organizers said. “We think it’ll even be bigger this year,” said Stewart. People in other communities have reached out to R.A.W. asking for help to start their own groups so they can bring more awareness to the effects of drug abuse and overdose deaths in their towns, she said. “A lot of towns aren’t as successful as we’ve been,” she said, “…because they don’t have the support from the community that we do.” Woodford Circuit Judge Paul Isaacs and Randy Nation, senior pastor at Journey Church, are among the speakers scheduled to participate in this year’s Crusade, she said. R.A.W. meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at Madison’s On Main, according to Stewart. She said the next (open to the public) meeting will include a discussion on avenues (such as grants) to raise dollars for a sober living home for recovering drug users. Stewart described receiving a telephone call from someone in recovery as a reminder of “why we don’t give up because there’s always going to be one that we do make a difference with.”

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