In 2020 almost 2,000 people died of an overdose in the Commonwealth, according to the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy.
Saturday, a non-profit in Lexington held an event to show support for everyone affected by substance abuse disorder. For one “Voices of Hope” recovery coach, events like this one inspire him in his own journey.
In August of 2021, Steven White can be seen showing off moves on the dance floor. Before becoming sober on July 8th of 2019, his life looked different.
“Homelessness, nothing to eat, nowhere to stay, it was just a mess, so I had to surrender,” White says.
Now, White is a recovery coach for Voices of Hope. It’s an organization helping people in recovery stay in recovery.
“I just want to give some hope to someone,” White says. “Let them know if I can do it, you can do it as well.”
The non-profit held its 8th annual Overdose Awareness Day Saturday morning at Jacobson Park. The event hoped to bring support to people struggling and to remember those we’ve lost to overdose.
We’re coming off a grim year. The Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy reports about 2,000 Kentuckians died of overdoses in 2020. That’s a 49% increase compared to 2019, according to Voices of Hope co-founder Alex Elswick.
“We really need to be connected, we need to have our tribe and be with our folks, and so the isolation of the pandemic has made things really hard,” Elswick says. “But, I’ll tell you the silver lining has been the way people have come together, online communities.”
For White, who still considers himself in the recovery process over a year later, it’s events like this one that keeps him going.
“If I can experience, strength, and hope with you, it actually helps to keep me clean just for that day,” White says.
In 2020 over 99,000 people died of an overdose in the U.S., according to Voices of Hope.