WELLSVILLE - Although the crowd that marched down Main Street on Thursday evening was smaller than that from their first outing in June, members of the anti-drug group Enough Is Enough say they will maintain their stand against the abuse and sale of narcotics in Wellsville.
Members and other attendees again gathered at the Fourth Street Gazebo, a last-minute substitution following electrical troubles with the planned site at Independence Square. The smaller crowd was just as vocal and enthusiastic as they heard from speakers, including group co-founder Cece Douglas, the Rev. Roosevelt Thompson, pastor of First Baptist Church in the village, and Eloise Traina, director of the Family Recovery Center in Lisbon.
"I'm not here to judge, I'm not here to criticize anyone," Douglas said. She related her own destructive experience with drugs - not as a user, but coming from a family filled with drug issues. Douglas said her father, sister and an uncle all sold drugs when she was growing up, and lost another uncle and aunt to narcotics.
A Wellsville Police cruiser leads marchers down Main Street in the village to the Fourth Street Gazebo, where the anti-drug group Enough Is Enough held their second rally on Thursday evening. (Photo by Richard Sberna)
As lost as she felt, Douglas says she found comfort and guidance from her faith in God. "He's our father when we don't have a father. He's our mother when we don't have a mother, and our friend when we don't have a friend."
Douglas emphasized that while people should be steadfast in their opposition of drug dealers and users, their hearts must remain open both to the drug addicts who need help in kicking their habit, and to those selling drugs who may be looking for a way out of that life.
The Rev. Thompson says he's seen the devastation of drug abuse in his church, over the three decades at First Baptist, resulting in crime, violence, and broken families. "We have our young people here, and drugs are taking over," he said. Thompson agrees that showing to those caught up in drugs is most important factor. "You win people by loving them," he said. Thompson's formula for helping the addict turn over a new leaf is "love, prayer, perseverance, preaching and teaching."
Also speaking was Laura Martin, a self-described recovering drug addict and alcoholic, who thanked Traina and the Family Recovery Center for making her sobriety possible. Martin said friends and family members of addicts must show love without be an enabler. "You don't want to help an addict," she said. "When you are paying for their cell phone, because they have to have a phone, you're helping them. They have a direct line to their drug dealer. When you're paying their electric bill, you are helping them, because the money that was destined for that electric bill is now going to the dope man."
Though she didn't appreciate it at the time, Martin says she's thankful now that her family members called the Social Security office to halt her survivor benefits, which she used to buy drugs. They also called Family Services, who removed her children from the home, and took her car away from her. Martin urged people with a loved one who is an addict to do the same and not be an enabler.
As for actively helping addicts, Douglas says the group has fielded many calls from those wanting help, going as far away as Weirton to pick up a man and bring him to see Kim Moon, a licensed counselor from First Christian Church, several times a week. "We've being going to get him, and it's been great," she said.
Douglas admitted that some who they've made counseling arrangements for have relapsed and not called back. "But we're not going to give up," she added.
In the interim, Enough Is Enough is pursuing fundraising activities to continue their mission, including a a prom-style formal dance for adults 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, at the VFW Post in Wellsville. Reservations are $10 per single and $15 for couples. Interested parties may call Cece Douglas at 330-708-3591 or Kari Daniels at 330-362-5021.