ASHEBORO NC – Community Hope Alliance (CHA) is set to hold its 4th annual “Walk a Mile in Our Shoes” this weekend.
The non-profit harm reduction organization works to save lives by providing resources & promoting substance abuse education, awareness, prevention, and safety.
The walk was started in 2017 to promote awareness of the opioid epidemic that was sweeping through Randolph County. “Our shoes, includes loved ones of people who use drugs, people who are in recovery, people who have lost someone to drugs, people who want to save lives and keep people who use drugs alive and healthy,” said Kelly Link – Co-founder/Executive Director of CHA. “We try to teach the community to treat drug users as humans, love and respect them cause treating them as worthless only makes them feel worse and drives them to use more.”
Scheduled for Saturday, June 12th from 5:30 PM to 8 PM. The walk will start at the Randolph County Courthouse on E Salisbury St going to the Courier-Tribune building and back, a total of 1 mile. The event will also feature free pizza, dessert, and cold drinks, along with free Narcan (naloxone) kits with training. There will be an open mic for anyone to share their story. The organization will also be hosting a bake sale, along with selling t-shirts, necklaces, and their book as a fundraising effort to help fund its syringe exchange and other programs it provides to the community.
The event which is held every year had to be canceled in 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “Since COVID, the (opioid) crisis has been on a back burner, even though the deaths have increased.” said Link. “Randolph Public Health hosted an Opioid Collaborate since April 2017 that met every other month. We were there for everyone of them. But since March 2020 we haven’t met”
According to data from Randolph County EMS fatal overdoses saw a 47% increase from 2019 to 2020.
CHA reports they handed out 1329 naloxone kits and had 647 overdose reversals reported to them in 2020. So far in 2021, Randolph County EMS has responded to 175 overdoses, with 15 of those being fatal. Accidental overdoses on illegal drugs account for 91% or 160 of those overdoses.
“Please come & support Community Hope Alliance! We need you! Our Community needs you!” Link says. “Everyone is welcome, especially those who use drugs and anyone who wants to make better choices by choosing Harm Reduction .”