Overdose awareness vigil held in Holyoke

Hampden County

A Holyoke overdose awareness vigil celebrated life by coming together in the face of an opioid epidemic.

The Against Addiction Community Groups, led by a group of women, hosted its third annual overdose awareness vigil taking the time to remember, to act and to heal.    

The event welcomed members of five neighboring communities to remember loved ones lost to an overdose, to take action and to make resources available for those struggling with addiction. 

“I mean, the only way I got better was helping others and by helping others in the community, it just makes you feel so much better to know that you’re doing something about it instead of sitting at home and not doing anything about it,” said Ryan Longtin of Agawam.

The Against Addiction Community Groups are led by women in Agawam, Chicopee, Westfield, West Springfield and Springfield.

“The group of girls that put this together, we’ve all been affected by this epidemic either directly or indirectly,” Abbey Halpy added. “So, we all have something to offer, whether it be to a family member, to someone who is struggling, or someone who has lost someone.”

Halpy told 22News, it’s important for people to know they are not alone. 

Last week, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the new opioid prevention bill.

The women behind the Against Addiction Community Groups said it’s about time another major piece of legislation was passed to fight the opioid epidemic. 

“We’re losing people left and right,” said Melissa Stebenne. “It’s an epidemic, and this is the time to act.”

Stebenne told 22News, they’re working to gather all surrounding towns and cities to come together as one and to make aware there is help.

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