Fighting Addiction and Sharing Victories in Pasco County
October 29, 2015, BayCare Behavioral Health and RenewPasco led the 6th 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 Heather O’Dell of BayCare Behavioral Health and Richard W. Hayes, CEO of Digital Lightbridge. Dr. Paul S. O’Neil of the Pasco County Clerk of the Court and Comptroller's Office served as the event’s master of ceremonies. Colonel Jeffrey Harrington, Pasco County’s Sheriff Office, shared his perspectives and emerging strategies to save lives, especially those impact by illegal activities in our community. Dr. O’Neil then introduced Judge Debra Roberts of the Sixth Judicial Circuit. Judge Roberts conveyed her personal observations of those she has sentenced and helped overcome addictions. She encouraged participation in an innovative and effective program that her colleague Judge Shawn Crane developed in 2011 called DCAP: Drug Court Ambassador Program. Kelly Mothershead, owner of A Focus on Fitness, shared her painful and heartfelt experience as a mother who lost her son to drug overdose four years ago and the unexpected joy found through the precious life of her granddaughter. Bobby Tierman shared his personal story of decades of experimentation with prescription and illegal drugs and now victory of recovery. Miss Caitlyn R. share her survival story through a difficult childhood and now hope found in the PACE Center for Girls of Pasco County.
Pastor Richard Perez of LifePoint Church led the attendees through the candlelight vigil and prayer remembrance inside of the wonderful Verizon Event Center. Miss Mykaila Robertson beautifully sang Amazing Grace during the candlelit vigil as the attendees reflected on those lost to addiction.
Richard W. Hayes of RenewPasco and Digital Lightbridge gratefully acknowledges the following incredible sponsors, community leaders, and caring supporters; Heather O'Dell of BayCare Behavioral Heath, Jeff DeLigio, Regional Manager of the Verizon Event Center in New Port Richey, Campus Pastor Richard Perez of LifePoint Church, Colonel Jeffrey Harrington of the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, PascoASAP, Youth and Family Alternatives (YFA), NAMI Pasco (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Generations Church and their Celebrate Recovery program, New Vision, Tony Masella of OurTownFLA.com, Judge Debra Roberts, Kelly Mothershead of A Focus On Fitness, United Way of Pasco County, Next 24, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Summer Robertson of Congressman Gus Bilirakis’ Office, State Representative of District 36 Amanda Murphy, Declan Mansfield, and Dr. Paula O'Neil Clerk of Circuit Court and County Comptroller in Pasco County.