Vigil held in Belchertown to remember those that lost their lives to substance abuse this year

Hampshire County

More than 50 people gathered on the Belchertown green Wednesday night to pay tribute those who’ve lost their lives to substance abuse. 

Belchertown has lost eight people to overdoses in the first six months of 2018. 

“Here we are in this small town and we’ve lost eight people, as far as we can see it’s not getting better.”
Friends and family members gathered on the Belchertown green Wednesday, lighting luminaries, and grieving the people they’ve lost to addiction. 

The father of Misty Hall’s child was saved by Narcan two times before dying from his third heroin overdose four years ago. 

Hall told 22News, “You pretty much just live in a state of fear and worry. Every time that phone rings, it’s -is this gonna be the call? Is this gonna be the day that he doesn’t come home?” 

Vigil participants took training in administering Narcan, and each left with a dose of the life saving drug. 

Jill Panto’s child struggled with addiction. She helped plan Wednesday’s event to help other parents, “As a parent I had no idea what to do. No Idea. It’s absolutely paralyzing. You can’t fix them. You can only love and support them.”

Panto said she hoped the luminary would help end some of the stigma surrounding addiction, “It’s nice to see other people around that understand, So I’m not feeling so isolated, or not ashamed that I am a part of this major statistic.”

Hampshire Hope, the public health department and police were all at the vigil to provide resources and support.

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