Getting word out about drugs, addiction

Saving Lives for Zachary is a grassroots effort toward getting the word out about the dangers of drugs.

Launched by Carolyn Miele, whose 27-year-old son died from a heroin overdose in 2016, the non-profit group is gaining support for its positive messages and education efforts in the community.

Miele’s reason for starting the organization is simple: “I don’t want any more parents to go through what I have”

She feels the group has helped to make a difference and often hears from people impacted in some way by drugs.

“If we can educate just one person,” Sandy Bachman, the group’s chief fundraiser said.

The group meets once a month to talk about drugs. The sessions include presentations by speakers who address drug addiction, including the heroin epidemic, which has greatly impacted many lives not only locally but across the nation.

“A big thing Carolyn has done is help wipe away the stigma (of addiction),” Bachman said.

The growing heroin crisis, she noted, cuts across all socio-economic levels.

Miele said she’s learned a lot about heroin addiction since the group started.

“There ares things I wish I’d known before my son died,” she said.

A single fatal drug overdose, she noted, affects many people.

Zachary overdosed after being clean of heroin for three years.

“I felt there were so many kids dying,” Miele said. “I didn’t feel like anything was being done about it.”

Getting the word out to youths of the dangers of drug addiction is a goal of the group.

Miele noted that more kids than ever are growing up around drugs, including in the home, where parents may be using.

“I felt kids needed to be educated. That what I want to do, “ she said.

The organization is looking for sponsors to help the group continue to educate the community and offer its programs.

So far, friends, family, businesses and groups have stepped forward.

Saving Lives for Zachary’s committee members include Charles and Gail Kiessling, Mary Spitler, Sue Miller, Dina Washer, Matt O’Neill, Sara Watson, and Phyllis McKernan.

The group’s next meeting is 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25 at the Trade and Transit Center, Williamsport.