Remembering Those Lost from the Disease of Addiction

October 23, 2014, BayCare Behavioral Health and RenewPasco led the 5th Annual Pasco County Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education Candlelight Vigil. The event hosted attendees and exhibitors in remembrance and recognition of the thousands in Pasco County who are suffering from substance abuse.

The Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education (NOPE) Task Force is a Florida non-profit organization that was formed to combat the illegal use of prescription drugs and narcotics, as well as other abused substances. NOPE Task Force is comprised of community leaders and concerned families working to save lives. The mission of the NOPE event is to diminish the frequency and impact of overdose death through community education, family support and purposeful advocacy by proving hope.

The evening began welcoming statements by RenewPasco’s board president Richard W. Hayes. Mr. Hayes introduced the compassionate and visionary Dr. Paul S. O’Neil of the Pasco County Clerk of the Court and Comptroller's Office. Dr. O’Neil served as the event’s master of ceremonies. Chris Nocco, Pasco County’s Sheriff, shared his energy, enthusiasm and effective strategies to save lives, especially those impact by illegal activities in our community. Dr. O’Neil then introduced Judge Shawn Crane of the Sixth Judicial Circuit. Judge Crane conveyed his personal observations of those he has sentenced and helped overcome addictions. He encouraged participation in an innovative and effective program that he developed in 2011 called DCAP: Drug Court Ambassador Program. Kelly Mothershead, ambassador of the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce, shared her painful and heartfelt experience as a mother who lost her son to drug overdose three years ago. Thomas Dobie, of Dobies Funeral Home impressed upon the attendees the often-tragic results of experimentation with prescription and illegal drugs upon teenagers and your people and ultimately their families.

Pastor Brian Brown of LifePoint Church and RenewPasco board member, led the attendees through the candlelight vigil and prayer remembrance outside of the wonderful Verizon Event Center. Peaceful and uplifting music playing during a candlelit vigil as the attendees reflected on those lost to addiction.

Richard W. Hayes, RenewPasco president and CEO of Digital Lightbridge gratefully acknowledges the following incredible sponsors and caring supporters; Heather O'Dell and Liana Dean of BayCare Behavioral Heath, Jeff DeLigio, Regional Manager of the Verizon Event Center in New Port Richey, Pastor Brian Brown of LifePoint Church, Chris Nocco and the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, PascoASAP, Staywell Kids, Nar-Anon, Pasco County Posion Control, Youth and Family Alternatives (YFA), NAMI, Generations Church and their Celebrate Recovery program, New Vision, Tony Masella of OurTownFLA.com, Judge Shawn Crane. Thomas Dobies of Dobies Funeral Home & Crematory, Kelly Mothershead of A Focus On Fitness, United Way, Next 24, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Premier Community Healthcare, Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, and Dr. Paula O'Neil Clerk of Circuit Court and County Comptroller in Pasco County.

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