Supporters to rally for drug use treatment, recovery

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NORWAY — The second annual Western Maine Recovery Rally will take place on Saturday, Sept. 9, in Norway and Paris. People will rally to show community support for those dealing with substance use disorders and to celebrate treatment and recovery.

The Recovery Rally will follow the success of an inaugural rally held in September 2016, which drew more than 100 people from across Oxford County. It will again involve a unified march from downtown Norway, where people will gather at 11 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 479 Main St. Free T-shirts and signs to carry during the march will be available upon arrival.

At 11:30, the crowd will march to Moore Park in South Paris , where a rally will be held with music and food. Several speakers will share personal stories about how their lives have been shaped by addiction, loss and recovery. The event will conclude at 2:30 p.m., with transportation to take people back to their vehicles in Norway.

Transportation will also be available to bring people from the River Valley area to the event. A bus will pick people up at Common Ground Counseling, 89 Main St., Mexico, and leave for Norway at 10 a.m. In the event of inclement weather, the rally will be moved from Moore Park to the Paris Fire Department, 137 Western Ave.

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The event is being coordinated by the Western Maine Addiction Recovery Initiative (WMARI), a group of  individuals who meet regularly to coordinate a response to the crisis of substance use disorders.

For the past several years, Maine has set new records with the number of Mainers lost to drug overdoses each year. In 2016, 386 people died. The heroin and opioid crisis is showing no signs of slowing down, although deaths have slowed due to first responders administering Narcan, a medication that blocks the effects of opioids, to those who have suffered a lethal overdose.

WMARI’s mission is to build a collaborative, nonjudgmental environment to support addiction recovery through education, advocacy and compassionate community action. The group meets monthly and welcomes new members.

FMI: 207-739-6222, jessica@healthyoxfordhills.org, www.projectsaveme.org.

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