Show of support: Drug rally draws crowd
Published 5:48 am Friday, November 25, 2016
Anti-drug advocates, residents and city officials gathered Saturday for a chilly rally in Goodyear Park.
Tracy Galloway organized the event, and despite the sudden cold snap, the event brought out about 100 people. Galloway introduced herself as a former heroin user and she used her example of addiction to sobriety as an example for the audience. Galloway wasn’t alone. She asked several former drug users to speak about their struggles to get clean.
Galloway said she appreciated the turnout and said she’s already planning on a second rally.
“We’re thinking about doing it in September, which is national recovery month,” she said.
After the event, she said she believes the rally helped at least one woman.
“I know I helped somebody. There was a young lady there, a very young lady, I bet she was in her early 20s, and I think she got some positive feedback about how it can be when you get through the drugs,” Galloway said.
The evening began with Scott Ard taking the stage. Ard was recently elected to the Bogalusa City Council, asked citizens to be compassionate to those who face addiction.
“I’ve heard people say (of addicts) they’d be better off dead,” said Ard. “But what kind of a thing is that to say to someone suffering from a real problem.”
Police officer Josh Spinks echoed Ard’s plea for compassion. Spinks is also a former soldier, and he said he became addicted to alcohol after left the service with PTSD.
“I was an alcoholic,” he said. “Fortunately I caught myself before I went too far, so I have a small, small bit of experience.”
Spinks said he understand addicts need help beyond incarceration.
“I try to talk to some people when I can. Not everyone you can talk to, but some you can,” he said.
Spinks said his message to addicts who are facing jail is, “It’s not the end. You can come back from this.”
Galloway noted that jail is not the worst possible outcome. Prior to the event, Galloway went to the coroner’s office and she got the number of people who have overdosed in the last fear years in Washington Parish. In 2014, five people died from an overdose. In 2015, 15 people died.
“To date, in 2016, 26 people have died,” she said. “A lot of people are wondering why am I doing this? Well, that’s it right there.”
Galloway said she appreciated all the speakers and the people who donated materials to the event.
Later at the rally, representatives from Oxford House spoke. Oxford House is a sober living facility, and although there are not facilities in Bogalusa or Washington Parish, there are facilities in nearby cities like New Orleans, Slidell, Gretna, Mandeville, Hammond and Kenner.
To find out more about that program, visit oxfordhousela.org, or call Lori Holtzclaw at Oxford House at 504-430-8554. Galloway said anyone who needs help can also call her at 985-750-3262.
“The speakers that spoke did a wonderful job, the people that helped me, all who took time to be by my side … I want thank everyone who was involved,” she said.