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Hope for Change fest continues calls for addiction treatment options

A daylong event featuring musical acts and ending in a candlelight vigil for those affected by heroin overdoses brought the issue to the forefront

By Allen Etzler
The Frederick News-Post

A music and addiction awareness event at Baker Park on Saturday had residents calling for more treatment options for those addicted to opioids.

Hope for Change Fest, a daylong event featuring several musical acts and ending in a candlelight vigil for those affected by heroin overdoses, brought the issue to the forefront in the heart of downtown Frederick.

“We need to find a way to break the stigma of the words ‘drug addict,’” Pam Knight said. “We’re people, and we’re broken. ... This ‘not my child’ stuff needs to stop so we can start saving lives.”

The Knight family had the family band, The Knight Brothers, play as the final act for the evening — performing covers of “Tennessee Whiskey,” by Chris Stapleton and “Free” by Zac Brown Band among others that touched various forms of addiction.

The Knight family knows all about addiction. The Frederick News-Post wrote about the family’s struggles and triumphs with drugs and addiction in January.

Now an outspoken activist about the opioid crisis, Knight told her story to the concert-goers on Saturday evening, which included continuing calls for a detox center in Frederick. Sheriff Chuck Jenkins advocated during a panel discussion Tuesday evening for an immediate access detox center in the county.

Allen Hudson attended the event, saying he wanted to get information on the problem and figure out a way to advocate for more treatment needs.

“We just have to stop burying our heads ignoring the problem,” Hudson said. “We have to stop saying we don’t want these problems in our neighborhoods. The problem is here.”

As foot traffic increased into the evening, several passers-by stopped momentarily to hear the music or ask what was going on. Despite awareness of the ongoing crisis, few felt compelled to stick around.

The several dozen in attendance though were treated to uplifting songs by local bands, and some submitted photos for a display table at the front of the stage of loved ones lost to overdoses.

For Danny Knight, Pam Knight’s husband and member of The Knight Brothers, those faces were all too familiar.

“This [addiction] is trying to steal a beautiful generation from us, and it has to stop,” he said.

Copyright 2017 The Frederick News-Post

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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