2017-07-12 / Front Page

Life or Drugs hosts 4th outreach, awareness event


A group of young people stood together in support during event speeches. A group of young people stood together in support during event speeches. The Life or Drugs, Tri- State Support group held their 4th Annual Community Outreach and Awareness Event on Sunday, July 9 in the Berkeley Springs State Park. The three-hour event, open to the public, included music, free children’s activities, information booths, inspirational speakers and fundraising activities.

Life or Drugs sponsors a weekly Circle support group for addicts and their families at the Refuge Community Church in downtown Berkeley Springs and also organizes speakers to talk about drug addiction, recovery, overdoses and family support at schools and community events.

Throughout the Sunday event, speakers shared their stories about their own struggles with drug addiction, the impact of addiction on their families and efforts to get help to addicts who want to become clean.

One speaker, Victor Parker, talked about his long journey to become clean from drug addiction. Parker is the regional director of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.


Life or Drugs held their 4th Annual Community Outreach and Awareness Event at Berkeley Springs State Park on Sunday, July 9. Life or Drugs held their 4th Annual Community Outreach and Awareness Event at Berkeley Springs State Park on Sunday, July 9. The alliance sponsors peerled support groups in Berkeley Springs, Charles Town, Martinsburg, Keyser and several Virginia locations.

Parker said his recovery became successful when he decided to participate in it. He said he came to Martinsburg from Georgia when he was “running from my life.”

“I went to the VA Center and I wanted them to fix me. I didn’t have time to sit in those support groups,” he told the crowd on Sunday.

“Until I started participating in my own recovery, nothing worked,” he said.

Parker said he was a survivor of childhood abuse, had three unsuccessful marriages and spent eight years in the U.S. Army before being court martialed for his behavior.


During a memorial moment of silence, Life or Drugs organizers and support group members remembered those lost to drug addiction. During a memorial moment of silence, Life or Drugs organizers and support group members remembered those lost to drug addiction. In 2011, he said he was “homicidal and suicidal” and hit a turning point. Then, he started hanging out with people who “were going places” and “looked the way I wanted to look.”

Parker told the crowd that his recovery changed “when I stopped talking about it and started taking the necessary actions” to become well.

“The government, the city officials – they’re not going to fix us. We have to do it ourselves,” he said.

“You can do what you want to do when you want to do it. Let us help you. Please don’t try to do it yourself – you’re gonna hurt yourself. This is heavy lifting,” Parker said.

“It ain’t comfortable and it ain’t pleasant, but you might find some peace in your life,” he said.

Other speakers during the event shared their experience of losing a son or daughter to drug addiction. Martha Miller read several poems about her pain and frustration over losing her son Tommy several years ago.

Event organizers Melody and Roger Stotler and Jennifer Schetrompf led a moment of silence for local residents who have died as a result of their addiction. They were joined by the parents of Corey Sugg, who died of an overdose. A poster commemorating Sugg’s life stood at the base of the park gazebo throughout the event.

“We are here celebrating life, and the voices we can no longer hear,” said Pastor Jack Hiles. “We thank these families for their bravery. They want and hope they can help someone else,” he said.

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