Honesty, true stories take stage at ‘Faces of Heroin’ in Howland

Speakers took the podium at Howland High -- from judges to first-responders -- with everyone sharing honestly

Hundreds of people poured into Howland High School for Sunday night's "Faces of Heroin" event.

HOWLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – Hundreds of people poured into Howland High School for Sunday night’s “Faces of Heroin” event.

It’s a particularly important topic in Howland, which has the second-highest number of overdoses in Trumbull County.

More than a half dozen speakers took the podium — from judges to first-responders — with everyone sharing honestly.

“Tell real stories and help break the stigma of addiction,” Event Organizer Meghan Durig said.

“Hope begins here,” said Lama Green, who lost a brother to addiction. “Hope begins today. Hope begins right now.”

Green told the crowd about her brother dying to give people her story of what addiction can do.

“And to give them hope,” Green said. “I want people to have hope and know that if you need help, it’s OK. Don’t be ashamed. Ask for it. It’s OK.”

“Two years ago, nobody wanted to talk about heroin or the death of a loved one with heroin,” Elizabeth Beckley, Ohio Can vice president, said.

But Sunday, a different story.

Howland’s gymnasium filled with people, all learning about the support that’s out there.

And some in the crowd couldn’t hold back their tears.

“This doesn’t have to be a secret,” said Doug Walker, a recovering addict. “A lot of parents keep it a secret that their kids are on drugs.”

Walker was one of those addicted, saying he just followed the “cool kids” in school.

“A lot of them cool kids are dead,” Walker said.

Walker lost the mother of his daughter.

As for him? He’s three years in recovery.

“I came from pretty much the dumps,” Walker said. “And right now, I have a pretty good life. One day at a time.”