More than a thousand people gathered in Akron Tuesday night to fight back against the growing heroin epidemic that is gripping the city and Northeast Ohio.
The event, which took over Akron’s Lock 3, is called “Heroin is Killing My Town,” organized by Boston-based Billy Pfaff.
He travels from town to town, raising awareness and pushing for treatment centers.
Out of the more than 30 communities he has visited over the last several years, Pfaff said Akron is the worst he has ever seen.
“Akron is the deadliest in my eyes,” Pfaff said. “This is the worst hit community in the states and Pennsylvania is right behind it.”
From January to June, more than 750 heroin overdoses have been treated in Summit County. In the first week of August, the medical examiner’s office reported five deadly suspected drug overdoses.
Akron-resident Adam Hayes helped organize the event.
“I’ve had about 30 friends die from this epidemic in the last two years,” Hayes said.
Jen Krieger lost her 26-year-old daughter Tiffany.
“You fall into this grief that is all encompassing. And she has two babies that now have no mother,” Krieger said through tears.
The victims are mothers and fathers, daughters and sons. A sea of purple filled Lock 3 as people lit candles — and hope was renewed.
Teamsters from all over the country, plus Canada and Puerto Rico, announced they have pledged $1.4 million to help build a treatment center in Akron.
They are currently scoping out land and hoping others will match the donation.
NoMoreHeroin.org also gathered more than 5,000 signatures.