By Ed Runyan
The last of four Warren marches aimed at reducing substance abuse and crime will take place on Courthouse Square from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The event also will include free food, games, entertainment and speakers.
The day begins with the Running For Recovery 5K Race/Walk at 9 a.m., followed by the 10 a.m. march just north of Courthouse Square. Walk-up registrations for the 5K begin at 7:30 a.m.
Lauren Thorp, coordinator of the Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, one of the organizers, said the event will attempt to educate the community on alternatives to drug and alcohol abuse and celebrate those who are in recovery.
She said speakers and recovery professionals will try to help people understand how to help themselves or a loved one who is struggling with substance abuse.
The ASAP Coalition is sponsoring the event with the Trumbull Ashtabula Group Law Enforcement Task Force, and the Alliance for Awareness.
The ASAP Coalition will release details on the drug-prevention action ASAP is developing with the help of dozens of members of the community divided into four working groups. The groups were formed at a meeting at the Sunrise Inn in February, after a drug- related gunbattle not far from the Sunrise Inn.
Thorp and Jeff Orr, commander of TAG, the county’s primary narcotics investigative team, say marijuana is the number one drug of abuse in the community, followed by heroin, but heroin use is rising, especially among the young, Orr said.
He cited information released recently by Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk, Trumbull County coroner, regarding a spike in heroin overdoses as an example of the severity of the problem.
Six or more females had died of heroin overdoses in a two-week period recently, two of them with the hypodermic needle still in their arms, indicating a possibly stronger dose of heroin being on the market, Dr. Germaniuk said.
Orr said drug addiction is reaching into every part of the community.
“It could happen to anyone,” Orr said. “It could be your daughter, your neighbor. And it is somebody’s daughter.”
Orr said he decided to organize marches through four Warren neighborhoods starting in June and continuing in July, August and September because it was time to “do something different. You better disrupt it,” he said of drug dealing.