The heroin and prescription drug problem is at an all time high across the state of West Virginia.
A number of prevention groups and task forces have since been created to help combat the epidemic.
“Never Alone WV ” in Weirton, is just one of the many groups and now they are reaching out to churches across the entire Northern Panhandle for an upcoming special event.
Founder, Patti Barnabei, has requested all churches and pastors in the Northern Panhandle dedicate their services Sunday, May 17th to those who are struggling with addiction, for their families that need healing, and a prayer for all our communities.
The Weirton faith based organization “Never Alone” has been serving the Ohio Valley for about 6 years.
The idea for the organization started when Founder, Patti Barnabei, was on a prayer walk.
“I thought about a young man that my daughter had went to high school with,” Barnabei says. “He had gotten into a different crowd from theirs and he started taking drugs and then heroin and than passed away.”
She felt compelled to do something so she contacted the local Health Ways and organized a walk and then it took off from there.
“We’ve had people from Wheeling as far as Barnsville, Ohio come to our support group meetings.”
The loss from addiction also inspired board member Walter Ruszkowski after he lost his son,Tony Ruszkowski, who left behind a fiance and daughter.
Walter wanted to give back to the community so each year a memorial golf outing is held to raise money.
This year the money will go towards scholarships for students at local high schools.
“Each person had to write an essay on somebody in regards to addiction and we are giving a $1,000 to Weir High, Oak Glen, Madonna and Brooke High Schools,” she said. “This is the first time for the Tony Ruszkowski memorial scholarship.”
Now they are asking you, the community, to dedicate this Sunday, May 17th as the Ohio Valley day of prayer, supporting a drug free community.
“We called all different churches and pastors on the West Virginia and Ohio side and we asked if they could dedicate their services to those that are struggle with addiction and their suffering family members,” Bernabei says.
She says if your church didn’t receive a call you are still welcome to participate in this prayer day.
For more information on Never Alone, you can contact Patti Barnabei by calling 304-797-1579 or on Facebook at Never Alone-West Virginia.