Jordan Hussey, the executive director of J’s Place, said she wanted to bring to light the factors of addiction and recovery that people struggle with.
“(It’s) like there’s this big puzzle, and there are pieces that people see but there are also pieces that people don’t necessarily see,” she said.
J’s Place, the nickname for the Jeffrey Dallas Gay Jr. Recovery Center, opened in 2019 and was named after a Gainesville man who died in 2012.
For a second year, J’s Place and other groups are gathering Tuesday, Aug. 31, for a candlelight vigil and a night of awareness surrounding substance use, addiction and recovery in the Gainesville area.
Hussey said more than 200 people came out last August at the American Legion. This year, the event will be held at Roosevelt Square between Jesse Jewell Parkway and Spring Street.
Hussey will be the keynote speaker of the event that will hear from people in long-term recovery and family members of those recovering from addiction.
The event will have food stations, music and representatives from different resource organizations in the area. The event will also be broadcasted on Facebook Live.
Hussey said she expected 250-450 people to attend the event where she intends to share her own experience with addiction and recovery.
What: Community event honoring those lost to addiction
When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31
Where: Roosevelt Square in Gainesville, 117 Jesse Jewell Parkway
For more information, go to hallrecovers.org
“We’ve worked really hard to market the event and … approach it from everyone’s perspective, so even people who just support recovery (can participate),” she said. “It’s going to be a fun event.”
The goal of the event has remained to “honor people who are in recovery and celebrate them” while remembering those that have died, Hussey said.
“No matter what life throws at you, no matter how bad it gets and how impossible it seems, recovery is possible,” she said. “And it doesn’t always have to look the way that we think it does.”
Some people hold the opinion that you have to hit bottom before you can rebound, Hussey said.
“The reality is, for some people that bottom might be death, especially with the rate that fentanyl is coming out and now we have a shortage of Narcan,” she said.
Naloxone, often seen as Narcan, is an opioid overdose reversal drug.
According to the Opioid Safety and Naloxone Network, manufacturing issues caused Pfizer to announce a shortage of the generic injectable naloxone in April.
“The OSNN Buyer’s Club has an exclusive arrangement with Pfizer for low-cost generic injectable, and so while there is not a widespread shortage of the product itself, the shortage specifically affects this group of programs,” according to the Opioid Safety and Naloxone Network website. “As of August 2021, OSNN Buyers Club programs are backordered by over a quarter million doses of naloxone.”
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid considered 80-100 times more potent than morphine.
People will be encouraged to wear masks and will make masks and hand sanitizer available.