Events scheduled for awareness on drug abuse issues

Raising awareness about heroin and prescription drug abuse and recovery is the goal of several events taking place over the next few days.

The Lycoming County Heroin Task Force community subcommittee will hold an open meeting Saturday night at St. Joseph the Worker Parish that will focus on educating the public about the increase in the problem in recent years.

The meeting also will provide the public with ways to get involved in helping stop the spread of drug abuse, as well as solicit ideas for community action.

It’s a two-pronged approach toward solving the problem, said Jaime Maiolo, chairman of the committee.

“The plan is to get the word out to people who either don’t understand the severity of the problem, or who know about it and want to know what they can do to get involved and help,” he said.

To examine the other side of addiction – the positive outcome of recovery – a screening of the feature documentary “The Anonymous People” will be held Monday evening at the Community Arts Center.

The film focuses on the more than 23 million people in the U.S. who are living in long-term recovery from drugs and alcohol and why many of them choose to stay silent, but also highlights the stories of prominent people, such as actress Kristen Johnson, of “Third Rock From the Sun” fame, who are vocal about their struggle.

It’s important to change the perceptions of addiction, said Alexa Hibbler, founder of the Recovery Community Initiative, a local group working to raise public awareness about recovery.

“We’re trying to lose the stigma behind addiction,” she said. “There are more people than you think living in long-term recovery.”

The initiative also will have its official launch at the screening.