Lewiston City Councilor Stephanie Gelinas spoke about her son’s struggle with substance use disorder last year during the first Rally for Recovery event in Kennedy Park. Gelinas, also co-chair of the Lewiston Area Public Health Committee, helped organize the 2nd annual event to be held Saturday, Sept. 17 in Kennedy Park. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Last year, as opioid overdoses were at an all-time high in the state, hundreds of organizations, advocates and families who have been affected by the crisis rallied together in Kennedy Park.

A year later, marking National Recovery Month, the community will do it again, hoping to build on the message of hope from last year’s gathering.

The 2nd annual Rally for Recovery will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Kennedy Park.

According to a city news release, it will again feature testimonials, musical performances, speakers and information and resources from several organizations dedicated to addiction recovery efforts.

There will also be free food, children’s activities and a dunk tank.

City Councilor Stephanie Gelinas, co-chairwoman of rally organizer the Lewiston Area Public Health Committee, was featured in a video advertisement for the rally.


Gelinas said, “All Maine families have been affected in some way or another by addiction.”

Last year, Gelinas revealed to the crowd that she had lost her son to an opioid overdose the year before. On the council, she has strongly advocated for policies to combat the opioid crisis and assist with addiction recovery efforts.

According to state data, there were 631 fatal overdoses in Maine in 2021, up from 504 in 2020. Through June of this year, there have been 329.

Gelinas called on everyone from individuals struggling with addiction, family members of someone struggling, or people simply looking to learn about addiction to attend Saturday.

“This rally is for you. It’s for everybody,” she said.

Among the speakers will be Lewiston Police Detective Joe Philippon and others such as Luke Merriam, who will speak about their “recovery journey.”


In the recent video, Merriam said he “graciously accepted” an invite to speak this year “knowing how pivotal it was in my recovery for me to be able to hear some of the messages of experience, strength, and hope last year.”

“Anybody that takes advantage of this and comes with an open mind, it could be the next great step in their recovery, because it definitely was for mine,” he said.

Mayor Carl Sheline said this week that the Rally for Recovery “is an important city event that emphasizes the need for more recovery options in Lewiston and helps address the stigma associated with substance use disorder.”

“We can’t move Lewiston forward until it’s easier to receive treatment than to buy drugs,” he said.

According to the city news release, the rally is sponsored by Recovery Connections of Maine and Pathway Vineyard Church, as well as Poland Spring and Dunkin’.

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