Vigil held for International Overdose Awareness Day

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CARBONDALE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — People around the world spent Saturday remembering those who lost their lives to addiction. An addiction treatment center in Lackawanna County held a vigil as part of International Overdose Awareness Day.

1,000 purple balloons floating high into the Carbondale sky, all honoring people who lost their lives to an addiction or overdose.

“Just seeing them all up there, it makes me feel like people are waking up to the issue,” Nathan McAndrew of Carbondale said.

McAndrew had a prayer card tied to his balloon. It was dedicated to someone he knew who recently passed from an overdose. This is his first time attending, but it’s the fourth year Just Believe Recovery has held a balloon release for International Overdose Awareness Day.

“They’re just good people with a very bad disease. And they’re dying. They’re dying daily and it’s just heart-wrenching,” Just Believe Recovery Centers founder Cynthia Bellino said.

A candlelight vigil followed the balloon release, allowing the recovery center’s current clients, alumni, and loved ones to stand together, bringing awareness to the disease that continues to claim lives.

“This could happen to anybody. No one is safe from this,” Bellino said.

Alumni coordinator Melissa Cardoso first got involved with Just Believe last year as a patient going through recovery. Now a year sober, she’s giving back and helping others turn their lives around too.

“I get to see them afterwards and help them continue their journey. It’s like I am going to be a part of that person’s story and hopefully impact their life in a good way,” Cardoso said.

Guest speakers who are also recovering shared encouraging words to current clients in treatment, letting people know we all fight addiction together.

Just Believe Recovery Center in Carbondale has 52 beds to provide residential treatment for those in recovery.

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