Awareness is Healing: Walk to STOP Heroin/Opioid Abuse event set

NASHUA – Bodies will be in motion bringing awareness to the opioid epidemic New Hampshire is facing through participating in the upcoming Awareness is Healing: Walk to STOP Heroin/Opioid Abuse.

The walk is organized by Darlene Pina, who has put on three of these walks in the past. The event is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 21. The walk will go from Greeley Park to City Hall and back.

“This is a serious problem that warrants attention. I don’t want people to fall asleep on the idea that we have a bit of a problem and, as a community, we need to get together and join forces to let people know we won’t shut up until we see a difference,” Pina said.

Over the years, this walk has gained traction and, as Pina puts it, “was growing out of control.”

She said the walk back in March 2016 brought out around 800 people, which had a drastic increase in attendance from the first walk that 62 people turned out for.

“The last two walks were sponsored by the city of Nashua, but the first one, I just went and did it,” Pina said.

However, she said all of the organizing is pretty much on her, aside from volunteers who help to get the word out. She said she has great volunteers, but the hardest part is trying to make connections and get the word out. Nonetheless, she expects a large turnout at this walk.

“Every walk has brought forth another leader. The goal is to do this so others can be inspired to lead some type of movement in the community … something to bring people together to start thinking of solutions,” Pina said.

At the event, there will be a panel of speakers on stage addressing the crowd. Pina said Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, former Chief Medical Examiner of New Hampshire Dr. Thomas Andrew and a person in recovery will be speaking.

“This type of stuff is not an annual thing, it’s the type of thing we need to think about as a community and constantly be doing something about until we see change,” Pina said. “I want people to stand up and say, ‘I’m going to help do something about this.'”

She calls people participating in these walks Warrior Walkers.

“People are dying, and every time someone dies, that’s someone’s child, friend and neighbor. People need to heal while we try to find solutions,” Pina said.

She said people who have lost loved ones need healing just as those who are struggling need healing.

“Healing is just as important as advocating about this epidemic,” Pina said.

She said people need to heal while the community tries to find solutions and continue making moves until an impact is made.

“Maybe this isn’t the solution, but we are doing something, and while we do something, we come together, become more powerful and help each other heal. We’re working on what we are waiting for,” Pina said.

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Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or