Candlelight vigil tonight remembers those who died from substance abuse


An emotional, tearful and solemn candlelight vigil Thursday for 68 people who died of substance use disorder/overdose concluded the third annual Fed Up: International Overdose Awareness Day here.

The event, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown on the city’s North Side, also was meant to support those still struggling with substance use disorder and those in recovery.

“I have lost several friends to drug overdose over the years,” said Phillip Krauss of Boardman, a recovering addict and one of several speakers at the event.

“Addiction is a hard life. I pray for the people stuck in that misery. I thought I was going to die like that. But I found out coming out at the other end is beautiful. I’ve been clean since Nov. 21, 2014, and since that date, I have a say-so about my life,” he said.

“Addiction is such a daunting problem. I do what I can to be part of the solution and not fuel the madness. It feels good that I am living proof that there is a way out,” he added.

Nikki Russell, 34, of Austintown, is in recovery after 17 years of addiction to drugs and alcohol.

“I’m very happy. I have three sons, 11,13 and 15, who are very against drugs and alcohol. Life is a lot easier clean,” said Russell, speaking before the program began.

Hopeanne Lovrinoff-Moran, coordinator of Thursday’s Ohio Can Change Addiction Now event, wore a white and purple shirt with a message: “I wear purple for every life lost.

Read more about the event in Friday's Vindicator or on

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