'Rally for Recovery' planned by aggrieved addicts and families

Family's grief turns to action

PARIS TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Recent overdose deaths are driving an effort to raise funds and open a men's residential drug treatment facility in one local county.

"Everybody who's an addict was somebody's son, was somebody's little boy or daughter," said wife and mother, Valerie Root, when talking about how people should view those addicted to drugs or alcohol.

"Addiction is everywhere," added her husband Mike Root. "It's an epidemic here in Portage County -- and we live out in the country."

The Roots have first-hand knowledge of the problem. Their oldest son, Damian, died of a morphine overdose May 16, 2010. It was Mike who discovered his son's body inside a work van.

"No mother or no father should ever have to find their child that way," said Mike Root. "They should never... never!"

Since Damian's death, the Roots have been working to improve drug treatment opportunities in Portage County. They started the group "Citizens for Addiction Recovery and Education" (CARE) and have opened an endowment fund with the goal of starting a men's residential treatment facility.

Currently, Portage County only offers residential rehab to women at the Horizon House halfway-house operated by non-profit community service agency, Townhall ll . Reached by telephone, Townhall ll Executive Director Sue Whitehurst told NewsChannel5 her organization has been working with CARE, supports their effort, and is hopeful a residential treatment center for men will become a reality.

Friday, November 18, 2011 at 6:30 p.m., CARE is holding a "Rally for Recovery" in front of the Portage County Courthouse in the center of Ravenna. The event will feature various speakers and information on the topics of addiction and treatment. It will also serve to raise money for the "Damian's Endowment" fund at the First Place Bank in Ravenna.

"Since our son died... There's 22 people that I've known and wrote down on a list that are addicts," said Valerie Root. "Out of those 22, 6 of those people are dead."

"From the bottom of my heart, I just don't want anybody to have to go through what we've gone through this last year," Root said. "Any mother that's lost a child know's - there's no words that can tell how your heart breaks."

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